Christiansted Historic Site to celebrate V.I. history

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ST. CROIX - The National Park Service on Thursday afternoon will present a program on local history.

In a nod to Black History Month, which is February, and Virgin Islands History Month, which is March, the program will feature local writers George Franklin and Richard Schrader discussing topics relating to Virgin Islands history, according to a statement released by the Park Service.

The program, titled "Crucian Oral Traditions," is sponsored by the Christiansted National Historic Site and the Eastern National Bookstore. Eastern National runs the small bookstore at the Christiansted National Historic Site.

"They're going to be doing readings from their books that we sell and carry in the bookstore," said David Goldstein, chief of Education and Interpretation for the National Park Service sites on St. Croix.

An art exhibition highlighting the traditional music and dance of the Virgin Islands will also be on display at the Christiansted National Historic Site through the end of March. The "Quelbe and Quadrille" exhibit is sponsored by the Visual Arts of the Caribbean and the Guardians of Culture.

"We have this 'Quadrille and Quelbe' art exhibit up in the Steeple Building and we're going to have them come in and talk," Goldstein said.

"Every year we're trying to inch more toward where the Steeple Building will be the mouth for the Park Service and the public," he said.

The hope is for more events that involve the public, he said.

The Park Service also offers other activities, including tours, for those interested in learning more about local history.

"It's just a reminder that we're out here. People are asking what's available for Black History Month and for Virgin Islands History Month," he said. "I think people forget we give tours."

The National Park Service offers tours of the National Historic Site, and those interested can call 773-1460. The National Historic Site comprises seven acres and five historic buildings: Fort Christiansvaern, the Danish West India & Guinea Company Warehouse, the Steeple Building, Danish Custom House, and the Scale House.

In addition, the Park Service can arrange for walking tours of Free Gut in Christiansted and of Gallows Bay by appointment, Goldstein said.

"There are lots of things we can do if people are looking for educational opportunities," he said.

For information or to set up an appointment for a tour of Free Gut, call the Eastern National Bookstore at 719-4091.

"Crucian Oral Traditions," the presentation by Schrader and Franklin, is scheduled from 2 to 5 p.m. Thursday in the Steeple Building at the Christiansted National Historic Site. Light refreshments will be offered.

The "Quelbe and Quadrille" art exhibition, also in the Steeple Building, will be on display from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday through the end of March.

- Contact reporter Joy Blackburn at 714-9145 or email

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