For over three decades, May 18 of every year is set aside to celebrate the International Museum Day, an occasion for raising awareness on the importance of museums in the development of every society.
In Nigeria, the Director General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Mallam Yusuf Abdullahi Usman gave a goodwill message for this year’s event whereby he delighted the various roles that Museums play by serving as link between generations.
According to Mallam Usman, “This is done through Collecting, Researching and Exhibiting collections with the aim of preserving important historical relics, yet communicating in modern day language. The International Council of Museum (ICOM) advisory committee came up with this year’s International Museum Day theme as “MUSEUM COLLECTIONS MAKE CONNECTIONS” to remind us that museums are living institutions that help create relationship between visitors, generations and cultures around the world. This bond fosters better relationship in dealing with illicit trafficking of our cultural objects, repatriation of objects and partnership in different areas.
Mallam Usman went further to say that “Museums are constantly facing challenges that bring them to consider the execution of their traditional mission of conservation and protection of cultural goods within new strategies so as to attract more visitors and ensure accessibility to collections. Thus, many Museums revamp the traditional method of preservation of their collections in order to involve communities where the Museums are sited and remain in constant contact with public.
“Thus the Museums in the networks of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments organize exhibitions and other educational outreach programs around themes that help their various communities to diagnose their problems and offer solutions. Issues of health, security, ethics, poverty alleviations, skills acquisition, social cohesion etc. are routinely addressed by our Museums as they make themselves releant to the society”, he pointed out.
The DG revealed that “Here in Nigeria all our forty eight Museums across the nation engage in activities around this year’s theme that bring the attention of government and the general public to the very special role that Museums play. They in line with the theme engage among themselves, in exchange of ideas, expertise and collections. The National Commission for Museums and Monuments as Nigeria’s cultural Central Bank, has also been engaging in exchanges with various International Museums through which our artifacts are showcased, side by side with artifacts from other countries to world audience. For example the Ife works are still touring Europe as they are currently on display at Sweden Museum of World Culture, Gothenburg. Earlier some of our bronze art works were displayed at the Royal Art Museum London in an exhibition simply tagged,: Bronze while Nok terracotta figure and Takusheyi Burial goods were on tour in Germany for several months in 2013. All this help us to showcase Nigeria’s contribution to world civilization thereby improving public perception of our nation and people in the world.
Concluding, he prayed that the Museum community will continue to uphold its essence in keeping our history alive while at the same time breaking new grounds at public participation that will ensure the relevance of the institution in the lives of the people. We solicit your support and goodwill in this onerous task as we match to a greater future on the currents of our great heritage.
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