KUCHING: After much anticipation, the Sarawak Government’s funded project to conserve Fort Alice for adaptive re-use as a local Heritage Museum will commence on May 28.
The project is implemented by the state Public Works Department (JKR) while the Sarawak Museum Department will be responsible to set up the local Heritage Museum with the input from a conservation architect
and a specialist consultant.
According to a press release from the Sarawak Heritage Society (SHS), this conservation project is an opportunity to engage relevant stakeholders on the importance of preserving local cultural heritage.
On May 28 and 29, SHS will take the lead to initiate a community-based cultural heritage conservation programme called ‘Reminiscence Forgotten Treasure Simanggang’.
This is SHS’s second series of the much acclaimed community programme first implemented in Siniawan called “Reminiscence Forgotten Treasure Siniawan”.
This community-based project aims to promote awareness in cultural heritage conservation in Sri Aman. It is a community based project organised through non-government organisations (NGOs), professional bodies, local community organisations and individuals without government and political interference.
This project is solely funded by SHS, co-organiser Malaysian Institute of Architects Sarawak Chapter (PAMSC) and their corporate partner NS Bluescope Lysaght (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd (Lysaght).
Simanggang Soon Heng Society (SSHS), the local partner, will play an important role in the programme implementation and logistic coordination.
This project is also supported by Jabatan Muzium Sarawak (JMS) and The Talents and Arts Performing Group (WuJiaoJi).
The programme will start with an initial core group consisting of local school children.
The organisers are also encouraging participation from the Chinese, Iban and Malay communities that have shaped and contributed to the development of this historical township.
Among the activities to be held are talks, site visits and workshops to expose the core group on the concept of heritage (tangible and intangible) and the importance of heritage conservation.
The participants will be taken to the Fort Alice conservation site regularly to observe the process in conserving this historical building. Local communities are encouraged to form a volunteer group as ‘Friend of Fort Alice’ (FoFA) to support the Sarawak Museum Department in the set-up and operation of the Heritage Museum.
They can be trained with sufficient knowledge to be the future ‘Guides and Guardians’ of the museum.