The San Juan Daily Star
FEMA allocates funds for repairs at Ponce museums
By The Star Staff
Several museums in Ponce have already been allocated funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to repair the structures tasked with preserving historic treasures.
The approval represents nearly $2.1 million earmarked for repairs after Hurricane Maria, and over $379,000 to address damages after the 2020 earthquakes.
The museums that will benefit tell Puerto Rican history from various angles: the development of trade and agriculture, the remembrance of significant events and the preservation of popular music.
“Museums are an essential component to learn about our ancestors and the origins of the traditions that define who we are today,” Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator José G. Baquero said. “The restoration of these museums will contribute to the economic recovery of the municipalities and will allow them to reaffirm their identity and history, to which Hurricane Maria and the earthquakes definitely added a footprint.”
One of the main attractions in the southern coastal city is Castillo Serrallés Museum, which welcomes about 4,000 visitors a month. Once the residence of businessman Juan Eugenio Serrallés Colón and his family, the museum today houses exhibits on the development of the island sugar industry.
Over $385,000 was allocated for repairs to windows, paving stones and other parts of the museum due to damage after Hurricane Maria, while $26,000 was allocated to seal cracks in parts of the structure as a result of the 2020 earthquakes, both for the museum and the Cruceta El Vigía monument.
Fránces Torruella de Alustiza, chairwoman of the Castillo Serrallés board of trustees, said it is important to preserve the castle because it is one of the few remaining architectural jewels in Puerto Rico. She added that the castle has a great economic impact because it attracts a lot of tourism and business.
Also within the municipality’s urban area is the Music Museum of Puerto Rico, which promotes the island’s cultural traditions and popular art. Some $1.7 million assigned to the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture will go toward repairing the damage caused by Hurricane Maria.
The Folklore Research Center, meanwhile headquartered in the Casa Paoli, will benefit from over $230,000 to address the damage caused by the 2020 earthquakes to the neoclassical building with 20th century elements.