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.
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."
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. 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.
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.
The Alexander Hamilton Museum
The Alexander Hamilton Museum is located in the Hamilton House, on the waterfront near the center of Charlestown, the capital of Nevis. Hamilton House is a Georgian building, rebuilt and restored from the ruins of the house where the American statesman Alexander Hamilton is believed to have been born and to have lived during his childhood. The museum features a presentation about his life and times.
The upper floor of Hamilton House hosts the Nevis Island Government's Legislative Offices, the Nevis Island Assembly.
Together with the Trott House next door, which was acquired by the society in 2011, the two buildings and their immediate surroundings are known as the Nevis Heritage Centre.
The Museum of Nevis History
The NHCS also maintains the Museum of Nevis History, formerly known as the Nelson Museum, located to the southeast of Charlestown at Bellevue. 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.
The society publishes a quarterly newsletter, The Gathering, which details its current and ongoing projects.
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.
- 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.
- Arthur Anslyn, marine expert
- "About NHCS". Nevis Historical and Conservation Society. 2017. Retrieved 2017-01-26.
- "Heritage Trust Ordinance provides support to Nevis Historical and Conservation Society, says Environment Minister". Nevis Island Administration. Charlestown, Nevis. May 18, 2012. Archived from the original on 2017-01-26.
- Ngunjiri, Pauline (February 11, 2016). "Nevis National Trust stalemate: Governor General and conservationists concerned". Nevis Pages. Charlestown, Nevis. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03.
- Bass, T. David. "Publications". Vitae (faculty web page). Biology Department, University of Central Oklahoma. Archived from the original on 2012-02-23.