BVI News

Locally-owned cultural museum reopens after being thrashed by 2017 hurricanes

By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff

After more than two years of painstaking labour, the Jenesis Studios is once again reopen; offering the same authentic cultural experience to the public.

Owner of Jenesis Studio and former Speaker of the BVI Legislative Council Reuben Vanterpool told BVI News on Monday that reopening the facility was essential to the tourism offering of the territory.

He said: “People are interested in the cultural experience. The cultural experience is important to visitors to know about the people of the land past and present. It sheds some light on who we are and the story of our life, and it is of utmost importance for us here as locals to know who we are.”

He continued: “If you don’t know who you are, you could drift, so we think it is significant to have that sense of origin both for our locals and our visitors. It is also unique, and I am told that over and over again; it is an experience that people haven’t had elsewhere.”

More than $50K in hurricane damage

Meanwhile, Vanterpool said the family-owned business sustained significant losses as a result of the 2017 hurricanes.

“It looked like a lot of rubble,” he stated while recalling the ill-fated weather events.

He explained that the gift shop that was previously constructed in wood had to be rebuilt in concrete; the roof, windows and doors of the gallery/museum had to be replaced; and his prize artwork and exhibits which were also affected had to be fixed.

Vanterpool stated that repairs started shortly after the hurricane and cost roughly $55,000.

While the business’ doors are now open, the formal reopening of the Great Mountain-based establishment is slated for some time in the new year.

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  1. jas says:

    wonderful …thankyou

    Like 17
    • DosEquis says:

      I agree. This is wonderful news. Congratulations to the Vanterpool family! Happy to see VI culture on display once again.

      Like 19
  2. Reader says:

    Great achievement. Congratulations Mr. Vanterpool!

    Like 17
  3. WHY says:

    Why isn’t this publicized and promoted more?? Our students and guests should be visiting this place! I love the realness of it, great job Mr. Vanterpool.. should have been centralized and even more of a national monument. This is where we need to be going in promoting our culture and heritage.

    Like 15
  4. Julie says:

    Where is this please? I am visiting Tortola from the UK in February and would love to visit this. I came over in 2017 to work after Irma and can’t wait to see all your hard work and efforts.

    Like 11
  5. bviabe says:

    While there, I hope you’ll have a chance to watch Mrs Vanterpool make cassava bread – a time-consuming operation from scratch. One of the VI’s few remaining links with the indigenous native americans.

    Like 11
  6. E. Leonard says:

    Thanks and gratitude to my friend former speaker of LegCo Reuben Vanterpool and other Vanterpool family members for their contribution on sharing, educating and preserving VI history, culture and heritage. The VI undoubtedly needs more non-coastal(sea is a major attraction), local attractions to tell the VI story to residents and visitors.

    Tourism is a primary economic activity in the BVI; it is 1/2 of economic pillars. However, the predominant model is based on sand, sea and sun. Coastal zone tourism development is the preferred investment; beachfront resorts close to the high water mark are visitors choice. Most visitors wants to step out of accommodations on the beach.

    Concentrating tourism and other facilities, along with other activities, on the coast posed disaster risks reduction challenges. Resiliency and sustainability must be built into facility designs, especially given climate change challenges, ie, rising temperatures, rising sea levels, frequency and severity of storms…….etc.The sector (tourism) reputation must be protected. Need balance between coastal and landward attractions.

    Like 17
  7. Just saying says:

    Now this is what we need. More local attractions! Also this is good for school trips because the children get to see and experience local culture of the past. Besides the beach and a good restaurant there isn’t much for the tourist to do.
    Too many times I have heard taxi drivers point out:”…and this is a mango tree on the right, over there we have some local cows or sometimes sheep if they are wondering by”. Not good at all. Maybe they stop that now.

    But this is what developing the tourism product means. Instead of spending millions marketing overseas.. helping to market small businesses like this one is what Tourist Board should be doing. It would be interesting to find out what service they actually provide to local tourist oriented businesses.
    Anyway, good going Mr. Vanterpool and family. Let’s keep this BeeWeeI culture alive.

    Like 10
    Dislike 1
  8. Crafty says:

    The pelican display is creatively beautiful! I will visit.

  9. Needed. says:

    Congrats! My visit pre-storms was both edifying and unforgettable. I will be back (bringing others)!

  10. Awesome says:

    This should be a MUST SEE tourist attraction when the ships come in. The beaches are not the only thing we offer. Kudos to you Mr. V, those long handshakes show how hardworking of an individual you are?

  11. Jenesis Studios says:

    Jenesis Studios would like to thank everyone for words of encouragement and support on the reopening of our Studios. We look forward to seeing you and sharing our Virgin Islands Culture with you. Our contact numbers are 543 2326/543 3916

  12. Verna says:

    Well done! Many congratulations!
    I do admire this hard working couple! Rueben and Olive are determined to keep the culture alive.
    Let us support them in every way!

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