Sunday May 28 2017

Uganda celebrates museum day

An attendant exhibits to a woman who turned up

An attendant exhibits to a woman who turned up to commemorate International Museum Day. Photos by Steven Otage.  

By Godfrey Lugaaju

The annual International Museum Day happened a week ago and just out of tradition, the Uganda Museum joined in the party to celebrate a day that focuses on the role of museums in our societies as a promoter of peaceful relationships.
This is the third time the open day is being commemorated in Uganda with this year’s event themed, “Museums and contested histories: Saying the unspeakable in museums” theme.
According to James Lutalo, the director of tourism, wildlife and antiquities in the Ministry of Tourism, the theme highlighted the need to accept a contested history as the first step towards envisioning a shared future under the banner of reconciliation.

“You may be aware, Uganda as a State Party to the Unesco Convention, is obliged to preserve and promote cultural heritage. One way of raising awareness for preservation of cultural heritage for sustainable development is through public activities such as the International Day celebrated each year,” he said. Museums, Lutalo said, have expanded their roles beyond keeping treasures to a societal role that demands the delivery of services of humanity such as peaceful coexistence, climate change, food security and democracy.

Such changing roles, according to Lutalo, have forced government to have a changed view that seeks to elevate museums as serious entities of development.
“We are documenting and preserving all Ugandan histories. The Uganda Museum leads the process to ensure people are informed of the past,” he said.
Rose Nkaale Mwanja, the commissioner museums and monuments at the Ministry of Tourism, said they have developed a new policy to document Uganda’s history in order to enhance the effectiveness of museums.
“We want to create a museums authority to oversee and nurture domestic tourism. The department of museums and monuments will also be able to monitor and document all the artifacts in Uganda,” she said.