What began at a class on the History of Adventism at the Adventist University of Haiti (UNAH) wound up with dozens of theology students researching for months and putting together artifacts, photos, drawings, and documents, for the first museum of Adventism in Haiti. The initiative also includes a small center for studies of Adventist co-founder Ellen G. White at the Michel Toussaint Auditorium on campus.
The project’s launch was unveiled on campus as the Adventist Church in Haiti is celebrating its 118th anniversary. Dozens of church leaders, educators, and students gathered on August 15 for the opening ceremony.
“The museum is there to remind us that we have a history, that we have a mission, that we have a name that carries a particular message,” Edgar Étienne, dean of the School of Theology at UNAH, said. The museum is just at the beginning stage of a rich Adventist history in the country, he added.
“The enthusiasm and dedication of theology students resulted in a room full of important historical resources that will enlighten and inspire those who visit,” Étienne said. “Every church field in Haiti and every institution will have space to place their historical relics and documents to make the museum more inclusive and one that truly reflects Adventism in Haiti.”
Pierre Caporal, president of the Haiti Union Mission, praised the work of students and others who were part of making the museum and the center possible. “Having a museum is a turning point in the history of research on the Adventist church movement, both in Haiti and abroad,” Caporal said. “It will also allow young people in the country to better know one of the Seventh-day Adventist pioneers whom God used to illuminate the path for His people, His church, through the journey on earth until he enters the heavenly Canaan.”
The dream would be to have a building for the museum and the center alone, Caporal said. “Perhaps this small beginning is laying a foundation that can turn into a more permanent site where others in Haiti and around the world can visit,” he added. “The museum will represent more than just a collection of historical objects; it will represent all our history, all our faith, and our commitment to proclaiming the three angels’ messages with more determination, with more fervor and love.”
Idony Patrice Augustin is a third-year theology student who, like other students in his class, donated a painting for the museum. “I was excited for this day to come, to see my name on a picture frame that will help, through the museum, to teach the story of the church to young Haitians,” Augustin said.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Haiti has more than 500,400 members worshiping in 1,330 churches and congregations organized in five conferences and missions. The church operates a university, a hospital, a clinic, and dozens of primary and secondary schools.