Video: Minister On Repurposing Of Building

February 5, 2024 | 5 Comments

[Updated] Minister of Public Works Lt/Col David Burch and representatives from Masterworks Bermuda are holding a press conference this morning [Feb 5] to announce the repurposing of the old Parks Department headquarters building at Botanical Gardens. We will have additional information later on, and in the meantime the live video is below.

The 15-minute live video replay is below:

Update 2.55pm: Minister Burch said, “Thank you for joining us today for an important announcement that underscores the collaborative spirit between the Government of Bermuda and Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art, marking a significant step towards revitalising an iconic piece of Bermuda’s history. In 2018, this former Department of Parks headquarters building in the Botanical Gardens faced closure due to severe mould issues. It has languished in a state of deterioration ever since.

“This Grade 3 listed building, with a storied past as the residence of the Director of Agriculture and other officials for over 122 years, represents a remarkable piece of our cultural heritage. Today, I am pleased to share with you that Masterworks Museum, known for its status as a centre of cultural arts and for its museum of art, approached the Ministry of Public Works with a proposal to lease and renovate this historic government asset – at no cost to the taxpayer.


“This initiative, which will see the building become a second location for Masterworks in the form of its new art and design centre, stems from a shared commitment to preserving our cultural legacy and fostering art and culture. I want to express sincere gratitude to the Board of Masterworks Bermuda and to its executive director, Ms. Risa Hunter, for their initiative in the revitalising this building.

“Their dedication to the arts and cultural enrichment is truly commendable, and we acknowledge their efforts in raising the funds needed to undertake the comprehensive renovation of the building. Importantly, this endeavour comes at no cost to the public, showcasing a beneficial partnership between the public and private sectors.

“The lack of funding is always the impediment to Government carrying out these works itself. The decision to grant the lease is rooted in a vision that will see this historic building return to active use for the public’s benefit. It signifies not only the preservation of our cultural heritage but also the further elevation of the Botanical Gardens as a hub for art and culture, aligned with the Government’s commitment to community development. The benefits that Masterworks brings to our community are exemplified by the successful transformation of the former Arrowroot Factory Building.


“This showcases their dedication to repurposing historical spaces to enrich our vibrant cultural landscape. Recognising the surplus status of the building, we believe that once renovated, it will play a crucial role in supporting the Foundation’s art projects for the Island, aligning seamlessly with the wider remit to expand opportunities for budding artists.

“This strategic decision is part of broader plans. The building being considered surplus aligns with our vision for a new state of the art Parks headquarters development at the Marsh Folly site. Those plans should be submitted to Planning shortly. Additionally, renovations to the Botanical Gardens Visitors’ Centre are planned, catering to Library space, other Parks Department needs, and public spaces.

“This public/private partnership, guided by the principles of the National Parks Act 1986, is a shining example of repurposing unused government buildings to support art education and development, fostering a more vibrant and connected community. Thank you, to the Board, Management, staff and donors of the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art – we look forward to witnessing the positive transformation of this historic site under your capable stewardship.”

Update: A Masterworks spokesperson said, “Masterworks Museum announces a groundbreaking expansion with the development of a second location in the Botanical Gardens. The new arts and design centre, to be housed in the restored Former Parks Department Headquarters, will serve artists and art enthusiasts at all levels, and will provide a hub for artistic innovation on the island.

“With its commitment to enriching Bermuda’s cultural landscape, Masterworks will offer classes, lectures, workshops, technical support and studio space for working artists at any level of their career. Central to the programme is a special focus on providing access to fine and applied arts to Bermuda’s youth, with a scholarship component. Masterworks’ expanded vision aims to foster creativity, inclusivity, and community engagement, making a transformational impact on the local arts landscape.

Key Highlights of the Expansion:

Expanded Vision: Masterworks will be able to focus on hands-on education in the fine, applied and media arts for all ages. The renovated building will enable the Museum to triple its current arts education programming, improve visitor experiences to the existing Museum and surrounding Botanical Gardens, and serve as a creative hub for students, artists, educators.

“Renovation of the Former Parks Department Headquarters: A cultural landmark with a rich heritage in the Botanical Gardens, the renovated historical building will integrate modern facilities to create artist studios, fine arts classrooms, an arts technology and media room, and an inspiring space for artistic expression.

Community Engagement Programmes: As part of the expansion, the new art and design centre will introduce a series of programmes designed to serve the needs of student and working artists. With this new space and expanded programming, Masterworks will be able to deepen its partnerships with local schools, not-for-profit organisations and government programmes that address youth development and mental health.

“Masterworks invites the community, cultural stakeholders, and art enthusiasts to join in celebrating this reimagining of artistic offerings in Bermuda. The art and design center is poised to become a dynamic hub for creativity, collaboration, and artistic exchange.”

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Comments (5)

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  1. Triangle Drifter says:

    Without Government intervention the building will be in good hands.

    • 365 says:

      So, the current government gave a 99+ year lease to the group behind Coco Reef for and they had no work to do? Masterworks, a registered charity is going to take a derelict building pump 4.5 million into it and they only get a 20+ year lease? Someone please help me to understand this.

      • Joe Bloggs says:

        The Puppet Master had an interest in the Coco Reef lease. He has no financial interest in Masterworks.

  2. Lion Paw says:

    Excellent opportunity for locals and visitors. Good to see people caring about their community

  3. PA says:

    ***** When we build let us say that we build for ever , and not for present delight alone.As we lay stone on stone let it be sacred and such work that our children would thank us for. *****

    I / we are just getting a little tired of seeing what we have built being going to waste .

    There are considerable number of buildings which I am embarasing to say that government has “put down” to the bull dozer which could have been re zoned renovated and rented long term back to the people and put to better used for the public .
    For example the Spar Yard at Dockyard for just one clear example.

    What have we got for the city dump ?

    Some in land waters can be used for fun water parks? there is big salt sea one at Ireland island.

    No ! i bet you don’t like that ! Ok ! So go hungry !

    Every square inch of Bermuda is precious.

    Other examples for uses are ,vehicle paint shops ; mechanics work shops; chicken farms with eggs being sold to the cruise ships and many more .

    We are a nation of shop keepers.

    Our city need a make over.

    All it takes is a little imagination to develope the space which has gone to waste for used by commercial enterprise and not to store unsightly ships containers.

    Recently we have seen many road side dwelling being commersially repurposed.

    Another is the Bank of Bermuda building at Albouys Point .

    it is sad to see some older hotels imploded, which could be used for live in office blocks the city can only take so much .
    In the past key to the success was Bermudains would never sell any thing we rented every thing which would put money in the bank.
    I know all this this is not idea un less its yours.

    Many people put butter on both sides of the bread by converting part of their unused home space to AIR B & B.

    & RENT IT !

    You know the deal !
    ” Having your cake and eat it” .

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