Memorial ACTe : like a semaphore in the Caribbean

Photo: Marie-France Grugeaux-Etna

The Memorial ACTe opened on July 7, 2015 in Pointe-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe) in the presence of many people. The managers of the cultural building which cost 83 million euros expected between 150,000 and 250,000 visitors per year not only from Guadeloupe and the Caribbean islands but also from all over the world. Last July, one year after its opening, 110 000 people had visited the permanent exhibitions and 28 000 the temporary exhibitions.

MACTe - Ouverture Public 8
Photo: Marie-France Grugeaux-Etna

After its official opening on May 10, 2015, in the presence of the President of the French Republic, François Hollande, and many delegations from the Caribbean islands and Africa, the Memorial ACTe closed its doors to make possible the arrangement of all the exhibitions. On May 27, the building hosted on its vast square artistic events celebrating the Abolition of slavery in Guadeloupe. On Tuesday, July 7th, the Memorial ACTe has finally opened its doors to the public ; so, hundreds of visitors (adults and children) went to this new “Caribbean Center for Expressions and Memory of the Slave Trade and Slavery”. We must say that for the big day, the entrance ticket was free. If some people waited a long time – as it is often happen in front of the great museums and cultural centers – to reach finally the permanent exhibition and the temporary exhibition, other people thought it is better to come back when there will be no rush…

MACTe - Ouverture Public 2
Photo: Marie-France Grugeaux-Etna

An actor as a president of the MACTe

By 10:45 am, Victorin Lurel (at that time, president of the Regional Council of Guadeloupe) with several personalities, among them Josette Borel-Lincertin (president of the Departmental Council of Guadeloupe), Jacques Bangou (mayor of Pointe-à-Pitre), Luc Reinette (ex president of CIPN, initiator of the project) and Jacques Martial (actor), cut the ribbon for the Memorial ACTe opening in the presence of very impatient visitors. From the next day July 8 to July 12, the ticket cost € 5.00. Then, the standard price was € 15.00.

In order to “pilot” the gigantic “historic ship”, the Regional Council of Guadeloupe chose, on June 15, 2015, Jacques Martial, a 60-year-old Guadeloupean actor whom the televiewers saw in 1989 in the French detective serial “Navarro” with the famous French actor Roger Hanin. In 2006, Jacques Martial was appointed president of the “Grand Hall de la Villette” in Paris. Thanks to this national experience, he was responsible for the development of the “MACTe” in Guadeloupe, in the Caribbean and in the world. In this hard work, he is assisted by Pierre Reinette, the director of the “MACTe”.

MACTe - Ouverture Public 4
Photo: Marie-France Grugeaux-Etna

A building opened for everyone

Even if the managers of the building do not highlight the economic effects in Guadeloupe of such a building, they expect between 150,000 and 250,000 visitors per year, hence an excellent communication abroad is necessary.

They are counting on the pride of the Guadeloupean people and the beauty of the building to attract the crowd. Indeed, during three years, about 300 Guadeloupean workers of ICM company worked on this building and demonstrated the local skills in construction. Of course, they are counting on the thirst for knowledge of the inhabitants of Guadeloupe to discover their roots. It took Thierry L’Étang (head of cultural and scientific project, anthropologist) four years to find these works of art and historical objects from all over the world which occupy 1700 m2 of permanent exhibition. Moreover, they are counting on the Caribbean visitors to come and discover this place which also belongs to them, in view of the history the Guadeloupean people share with them. The national flag of all these islands is flying in front of the Memorial ACTe, as a sign of welcome.

This first day ended by concerts of drums-ka with “Sa Ki Taw”, a ballet directed by the choreographer Mario Coco and “Le Big Band Ka” made up of 41 musicians.