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Sierra Leone News: Britain gives… Le300m for National Railway Museum

C. J. Hughes -Relics Commission ChairmanThe sum of Le 300 Million has been approved for the Sierra Leone National Railway Museum by the organization British Libraries; under the Endangered Archives Programme. The grant will support a two-year project to retrieve, recover, restore and properly archive and manage documents of the now defunct Sierra Leone Government Railway. The grant was made possible through a proposal written and submitted by early this year by Charlie J. Hughes, Chairman of the Monuments and Relics Commission, and Helen Ashby, Head of Knowledge and Collection at the British National Railway Museum.
A 20-feet container carrying state-of-the art equipment for the “Endangered Archives project” will arrive in Freetown early next week. Two officials of the British National Railway Museum Helen Ashby, and Tim Procter, Curator of Archive and Library Collection will arrive in Freetown on November 18, 2013.  Two others including a-Marketing and PR Specialist, and a Senior Curator of Rail Vehicle Collection will arrive in Freetown between November and December, 2013.
Documents belonging to the former Sierra Leone Government Railway are scattered all over the country in difficult and unsuitable conditions in private hands and abandoned railway station offices; this press has been intimated. Without proper collection, processing, storage and management Sierra Leone risks losing these documents. Emphasizing the importance of the “Endangered Archives project”, the Chairman of the Monuments and Relics Commission, told this medium that losing the railway records will be a great loss to how Sierra Leone’s history in narrated. “The railway was one of the biggest contributors to the integration of different communities into the Sierra Leone nation-state we know today. Without archival documents the stories about those who worked at the Sierra Leone Government Railway and the role of the institution in the making of modern Sierra Leone will not be properly told, C. J. Hughes said.
Meanwhile, this press has learnt that the Minister of Tourism and Culture, Peter Bayuku Konteh is very keen on re-locating both the National Railway Museum and the Sierra Leone National Museum to more suitable environments. Minister Konteh has already intimated President Ernest Koroma of these plans a few months ago.
By Betty Milton

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