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October 31, 1997     Cape Gazette
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October 31, 1997

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10 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, October 31 - November 6, 1997 Officials dedicate new Prime Hook Visitor's Center By Michael Short Prime Hook Wildlife Refuge dedicated its new visitor center on Sunday, Oct. 26. In a miserable rainstorm, officials gathered to cut the ribbon for a new library, visi- tor center, office and memorial garden expected to revolutionize life at the refuge. That's because the old office was not accessible to people with disabilities, had no public bath- rooms and had less room than most kitchens. In a converted dairy milk house that still had a sloping cement floor, the refuge crowded together its employees, Assistant Nanticoke Indian Chieftain Charles Clark of- fers the invocation during Sunday's ceremony dedicat- ing the brand-new visitor center at Prime Hook Refuge. exhibits and supplies. The bathroom was used for stor- age. If the old office had a ZIP code, it would have been a fraction. But now, the refuge has a beau- tiful new visitor center, complete with a mural by artist Richard Clifton, which is expected to dra- matically expand the educational opportunities for visitors. It is also expected to be open on weekends, something which has never oc- cured before. "The new center will enable Prime Hook staff to work more closely with visitors, schools and individual groups to provide the environmental, educational oppor- tunities that had been difficult, if not impossible before," said As- sistant Refuge Manager George O'Shea. Sunday's ceremony included an invocation by Assistant Nanticoke Chieftain Charles Clark. Clark, in a ceremony as old as the Nanti- coke nation, lifted a pipe of tobac- co to the four directions, offering it also to Mother Earth and to The Great Spirit. Even the pipe, with its wooden stem to represent all good things grown on earth, its' carved buffalo to represent the four-legged crea- tures and its male and female por- tions joined to make us "whole," is significant. "It means a lot to us to be here," said Clark. "Teach us to have a healing spirit, so every time we touch you, we leave you well and Robert Streeter, U.S. Fish joins Sen. William Reth (left) Hook Wildlife Refuge. good," he prayed to Mother Earth. "When you kick up the dust, it is made of the blood, sweat, bones and tears of those who came be- fore." U.S. Sen. Bill Roth, who is con- sidered instrumental in providing funding for the visitor center, cut the "ribbon for the new complex and spoke about the refuge, "I can think of no more beautiful place to spend the day than here on these 8,000 acres," he said. "Wilderness Michael Short photos and Wildife Service assistant director of refuges and wildlife, in cutting the ribbon dedicating the new visitor center at Prime is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human spirit." The latter quote was from Ed- ward Albee. Clark also offered up a prayer for Roth, whom he called a friend to the Nanticoke nation. The downpour prompted the festivities to be moved under a ten-t, but the event still came off almost with- out a hitch. Roth joked that he had told the Internal Revenue Ser- vice that if they wanted to get on his good side, they would provide good weather for Sunday. The complex includes the William W. Frech Memorial Gar- den, which was funded by the Sussex Bird Club. The Dover Air Force Base Hon- or Guard presented the colors and flocks of geese flew overhead, timing their arrival nearly perfect- ly as the doors of the visitor center were opened wide. 1998. This will focus tremendous attention on the Delaware com- munity. It will turn into a travel- ogue for the whole area. We've also contracted to program the ex- hibit hall for five years," said Am- berg. "Other future exhibits will include Japanese imperial art, an exhibit from the National Trust for Scotland, and another major Egyptian exhibit. We have a $7 million budget for this exhibit and we're hoping to attract half a mil- lion people." Tickets for the exhibit will be $12.50 for adults and $4 for chil- dren. Created by Catherine the Great in 1764, the State Hermitage Mu- seum today houses a collection of close to' 3 million art objects, rep- resenting the cultures and civilize- tions of many nations and peoples, ranging from the Stone Age to present day. "It is truly an honor for us to be working with Dr. Piotrovski in bringing some of the world's greatest art and historical objects from one of the world's greatest museums to the United States," said James E. Broughton, presi- dent of Broughton International. "The 'Nicholas and Alexandra' exhibition is the first comprehen- sive presentation of this delicate and sensitive 20th century story ever to be staged in America. It is a story of love and devotion, of treachery and intrigue, of revolu- tion and upheaval, or royalty and family ... of despair and tragedy." According to Piotrovski, more Continued on page 14 "Nicholas and Alexandra: The Last Imperial Family of Tsarist Russia" from the State Hermitage Museum in St. Pe- tersburg, Russia, is coming to the new Delaware Grand Exhi- bition Hall in Wilmington from Aug. I to Dec. 31 of next year. The State Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg, Russia, and Broughton International Inc. of St. Petersburg, Fla., have announced that the American tour of "Nicholas and Alexandra: The Last Imperial Family of Tsarist Russia" will begin in Wilmington in 1998. Broughton International has joined in an unprecedented arrangement with the world- renowned State Hermitage Muse- um and its director, Dr. Mikhail Piotrovski, to bring some the mu- seum's most coveted treasures to audiences in the United States over the next several years, begin- ning with the "Nicholas and Alexandra" exhibition. Representatives of Broughton met recently with a number of people involved in Delaware Cape Region tourism efforts, in- dicating that the entire Delaware community will be involved. Di- rector of Public Relations Stephanie Amberg said school children from throughout Delaware will be involved and that curriculum guides are being developed to integrate the exhibit into school classes. The guides will be distributed free to teachers throughout the state. "And this is a great opportunity for the adult population to learn more about the word," said Am- berg. ''This will help teach other viewpoints and mindsets and in- still some understanding of the culture we will be depicting." Amberg said the exhibit will al- so offer tourism opportunities. "This is a major exhibit and will attract writers from around the world. They will undoubtedly visit other parts of Delaware while they're here and that will help tourism for the whole state." "Two thousand media outlets around the world will receive press information about the ex- hibit beginning in January of The Delaware Grand Exhibition Hall, being constructed along the Christina River in Wilmington, will open next year, housing the "Nicholas and Alexandra" exhibit. Nicholas and Alexandra exhibit arrives in Delaware next year