Every 18th May is celebrated globally as the International Museums Day (IMD), a day to reflect on and celebrate the role of museums in serving society as educational and remembrance platforms for matters of direct concern to society. IMD 2019 was held under the global theme: “Museums as Cultural Hubs: The future of tradition”.
According to the Statutes of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), adopted by the 22nd General Assembly in Vienna, Austria, on 24th August 2007, “a Museum is a ‘Non-Profit, Permanent Institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purpose of education, study and enjoyment.”
Uganda as a country has close to twenty-five (25) private community museums spread across the country. These provide spaces for people to interact, network and learn from the curated objects/materials. Their foci vary and include themes such as war and peace, culture, and religion, among many others. Some of these museums include: The National Memory and Peace Documenter Center in Kitgum, Ker Kwaro Acoli Museum at the Royal Palace in Gulu, Igongo Cultural Center in Mbarara, Museum of the Missing Persons in Pader, Uganda Martyrs University Museum located near the equator, Koogere Community Museum in Fort Portal, Kiwa Heritage in Kasese, Karamoja Women’s Cultural Group in Moroto, Batwa Cultural Experience, Mt Elgon Museum of History and Culture in Mbale, and a number of others across the country that should be invested in and supported.
Museums in Uganda should play a big role in addressing socio-political and conflict-related issues in most conflict-affected communities, as their facilities offer platforms for communities to dialogue on matters of contention through documentation and research.
Museums in Uganda also benefit posterity by providing educational spaces that also promote remembrance of past events to ensure that they are not forgotten. Most museums in Uganda are working with schools to promote children’s interaction with Museums. Cultural museums, for example, are contributing to helping many young children have a better understanding of their culture and its diversity, thus helping them appreciate the role of culture in a dynamic world.
Caption:School children and members of the public view NMPDCs traveling exhibition at the Uganda Museum during the IMD 2019.