Nevis Historical and Conservation Society

The Nevis Historical and Conservation Society (NHCS) is a nonprofit non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in the Caribbean island of Nevis, founded in 1980 to protect the cultural and natural heritage of the island.

Nevis Historical and Conservation Society
Hamilton House, a museum building at Alexander Hamilton's birthplace site on Nevis
AbbreviationNHCS
Formation1980[1]
Founders
  • Arthur Evelyn
  • Roland Spencer Byron
TypeNGO
PurposeHeritage conservation
Location
Region
Nevis
Services
  • Alexander Hamilton Museum
  • Museum of Nevis History
Websitewww.nevisheritage.org

Mission and funding

The NHCS, founded in 1980, is charged with protecting the cultural and natural heritage of the island of Nevis, which is part of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, in the Leeward Islands, West Indies. The stated mission of the society is "to conserve the natural, cultural and historic fabric of the Island of Nevis and her surrounding sea for all its people."[1]

The organization is funded through local and international memberships, donations, museum admissions and sales, annual fundraising events, and an endowment fund. On May 2, 2012, the Nevis Island Assembly unanimously enacted an ordinance to establish a Heritage Trust in support of the organization.[2] However, it was later discovered that in its original legislative form, the ordinance would have deprived the trust of its NGO status, resulting in a "stalemate" on implementation of the trust.[3]

Museums and services

The NHCS maintains two museums on the island, and has instituted projects and policies designed to preserve the island's unique history and environment, and to make that heritage accessible and intelligible to locals and visitors.

Nevis Heritage Center and Museum of Nevis History

The Alexander Hamilton Museum was for many years located in the building known as Hamilton House, a handsome stone building on the waterfront near the center of Charlestown, the capital of Nevis. This Georgian building was built on the ruins of an earlier structure, now thought to be a stable that was destroyed by a hurricane in 1840.[4] Now also called the museum building, its first floor is the current site of the Museum of Nevis History.[5][6] The building's upper floor hosts the Nevis Island Government's Legislative Offices, the Nevis Island Assembly.

The museum building was long thought to be the house where the American statesman Alexander Hamilton was born and lived during his childhood. However, it is now believed that Hamilton was born in a different structure on the property, a wooden building now known as the Nevis Heritage Centre.[4]

The Nevis Heritage Centre, located next door (to the south) of the museum building, is the current site of the museum's Alexander Hamilton exhibit.[6] The wooden building, historically of the same age as the museum building, was known locally as the Trott House, as Trott was the surname of the family that owned the house in recent times. Evidence gradually accumulated that the wooden house was the actual historical home of Hamilton and his mother, and in 2011, the wooden house and land were acquired by the NHCS. The house was intact, although it needed some repair and restoration before it could be opened to the public. A wall separating the wooden house from the stone house was removed. The land surrounding the wooden house was landscaped, and a small outdoor cafe was moved to the southern edge of the property.

Horatio Nelson Museum

The NHCS also maintains the Horatio Nelson Museum, located to the southeast of Charlestown at Bellevue.[7] The facility houses the Nevis Island Archives of historical records.

This museum features the Horatio Nelson Collection, an extensive collection of Nelson memorabilia. When Admiral Nelson was a young sea captain, he was stationed on Nevis during the mid-1780s. In 1787, Nelson married a young widow who was a Nevis plantation owner's daughter-in-law, Frances (Fanny) Nesbit.

Joan Robinson Biodiversity and Oral History Resource Centre

The Bellevue facility also houses the Joan Robinson Biodiversity and Oral History Resource Centre, which was opened on April 22, 2009, and which currently consists of two laboratories. One is dedicated to recording and preserving the flora and fauna of Nevis and the other is a video editing suite, which is designed to preserve the oral history of the island by digitally recording the oldest people on the island, to preserve their memories of life on Nevis during the early parts of the 20th century.

The Biodiversity and Oral History Projects are jointly funded by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CIDA), the British High Commission (Barbados); and The Strabon Project (French Embassy, Saint Lucia).

Among the notable aspects of these two projects is that local high school students perform most of the work. During the process they learn technical and scientific skills from NHCS staff and other experts in a wide variety of disciplines, including but not limited to, archaeology, marine and terrestrial biology, botany, GPS/GIS mapping and surveying techniques, still and video photography, website design and maintenance, video editing and production, and desktop publishing.

NHCS publications

The society publishes a quarterly newsletter, The Gathering, which details its current and ongoing projects.

In 1989, the NHCS published The Birds of Nevis, a 56-page booklet written by Paul Hilder. The list of species included in that publication has since been expanded and updated.[8][9]

In 2000, the society published a 69-page book entitled The Natural History of the Island of Nevis, edited by David Robinson and Jennifer Lowery, which included contributions such as a chapter on the island's freshwater invertebrates by biologist T. David Bass.[10]

Bibliography

  • Robinson, David; Lowery, Jennifer, eds. (2000). The Natural History of the Island of Nevis. Nevis Historical and Conservation Society. ASIN B007D6N14Q.
  • Hilder, Paul (1989). The Birds of Nevis. Nevis Historical and Conservation Society. ASIN B0007BR014.

See also

References

  1. "About NHCS". Nevis Historical and Conservation Society. 2017. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  2. "Heritage Trust Ordinance provides support to Nevis Historical and Conservation Society, says Environment Minister". Nevis Island Administration. Charlestown, Nevis. 18 May 2012. Archived from the original on 26 January 2017.
  3. Ngunjiri, Pauline (11 February 2016). "Nevis National Trust stalemate: Governor General and conservationists concerned". Nevis Pages. Charlestown, Nevis. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016.
  4. "The Hamilton's Birthplace". Nevis Historical and Conservation Society. 2019. Archived from the original on 29 July 2019.
  5. Nevis Tourism Authority (2019). "Historical Sites & Landmarks: Museum of Nevis History". Nevis Naturally. Archived from the original on 29 July 2019.
  6. The Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society (17 May 2013). "Alexander Hamilton Birthplace in Nevis - AHA Society Board Visit". Facebook.
  7. Nickell, Patti (4 May 2019). "This Caribbean getaway is so laid-back there's not a single stoplight on the island". New Hampshire Union Leader. Archived from the original on 5 May 2019.
  8. http://www.bio-diversity-nevis.org/new_page_2.htm
  9. http://www.bio-diversity-nevis.org/images/Nevis%20Birds/Birds%20of%20Nevis%20Check%20List.pdf
  10. Bass, T. David. "Publications". Vitae (faculty web page). Biology Department, University of Central Oklahoma. Archived from the original on 23 February 2012.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
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