THE official opening of the National Cocoa and Chocolate Museum and Heritage Complex in Moruga on Saturday drew hundreds of people. Founded by the Merikin Prince of Moruga Eric Lewis, the museum seeks to showcase and preserve the rich cocoa and coffee history of the Ancient Historic Cocoa House of Moruga, located on Rock River Hill.
Lewis, who explained he is a prince because his ancestor was a Merikin Queen, said he believes it is important for TT’s culture and history to be preserved. Deputy High Commissioner from the British High Commission, Caroline Alcock was present for the opening.
“It is a huge historical area, we have the barracks, the horse stables, a water cistern from 100 years ago, the cocoa and coffee factory, the manager’s quarters,” Lewis said. “There is both built and natural heritage- we have a mud volcano, pitch pools, volcanic cones, a sulfur spring and a well from over a 100 years ago all on this same property.”
Lewis said there are many artifacts on the property, which lend to its historical value. “We have archival documents from the Cocoa board, hundreds of books of cocoa history and cocoa abstracts around the country. We also have artifacts dating back to the 1800’s and a horse saddle collection, the plantation collection, the servants collection, the masters collection and maps and cadastral from then coming straight forward.”
He said the property belongs to him but he does not intend to keep it private. “I want to establish this as a national space, I really think our country should get involved in preserving the other heritage sites and I am trying to keep this as original as possible to maintain its authenticity but doing the necessary upgrades to ensure it is preserved.”
Lewis said interest in the site has been building since he began preparing it in January and he already has 400 confirmed visitors from now until June.