New Guidelines for Event Signage at Fort Christian Announced



Fort Christian, the iconic structure in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, will now see its event organizers navigating a new requirement: obtaining approval from the Historical Preservation Committee for any signage to be displayed on the premises. This directive stems from an initiative by the Division of Libraries, the fort’s overseeing body, aiming to maintain the integrity of this historical site.

At a recent meeting, the STT-STJ Historical Preservation Committee, led by Chair Akil Petersen, reviewed applications for signage at upcoming events. Among these was Melvin Romney’s submission for Fort Fete Virgin Islands, an event heralding the start of the St. Thomas Carnival season. Romney’s plan involves non-invasive methods to affix signs, ensuring the fort’s structure remains unaltered.

The committee’s discussion revealed a diversity of views. While the idea of utilizing the fort for public celebrations received support, Sean Krigger, director of the State Historical Preservation Office, expressed concerns over potential impacts on the fort’s ancient fabric. He noted new cracks in the building’s structure and urged caution regarding noise levels, given their potential effects on the historic edifice.

Despite these worries, Romney highlighted the careful considerations made in previous years regarding sound levels and the post-event condition of the fort, ensuring no harm comes to the historic site. He emphasized the cultural respect shown in event themes, like the previous year’s madras theme and the current year’s hibiscus inspiration.

Kurt Marsh, another committee member, raised concerns about the structural integrity of historic buildings like Fort Christian, especially in the face of large-scale events. He stressed the importance of maintaining these structures, which the Virgin Islands government has historically neglected, and the need for intentional space reclamation.

The committee approved Romney’s application, as well as another for a dancehall party, emphasizing the delicate balance between supporting local entrepreneurs and preserving historical sites. Suggestions for regular monitoring of the building’s condition, especially in light of events featuring bass-heavy music, were made to ensure ongoing preservation efforts.

This new oversight by the Historical Preservation Committee underscores a commitment to protecting the cultural heritage of Fort Christian while accommodating community events, a balance vital for the preservation and vibrant use of historic spaces in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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