May 18, 2022
Prof. Abba Tijani, the Director-General, National Commission for Museum and Monuments (NCMM) has called for the recognition of museums as research institutions in the country.
Tijani made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday, as Nigeria marked International Museum Day (IMD).
He said this was necessary to make the Museum more relevant, and to reposition it to fulfil its mandate and change its status to that of a global one.
“The government is trying, especially presently, realising the importance of Museum in nation building, it has shown renewed interest in the Museum by supporting its programmes and projects.
“But they can still do more in implementing policies that will ease the operations of the Museum. More funding is expected for museum development,” he said.
The NCMM boss urged stakeholders, corporate bodies, philanthropists and non-governmental agencies to show more interest in building, developing and maintenance of museums in Nigeria, as done in other parts of the world.
“The communities where museums are located should protect the Museum and see it as their own property so that all the artefacts and museum facilities are protected and maintained.
“They should not sell their cultural objects to traffickers as they will regret the action tomorrow,” he said.
He remarked that the International Museum Day (IMD) was used to raise awareness on the importance of Museum in the development of the society.
He said: “it is also a day that the Museum appraise its contributions to humanity and listen to the feedback from the society they serve in order to improve their services to the public.
Tijani said that this year’s IMD’s theme ‘The Power of Museum’ was apt because museum played decisive role in shaping the development of the society and set the pace for development.
“Museums are cultural institutions that preserve and promote culture through their collections, foster learning and research, and provide educational opportunities.
“Museums are also economic drivers, they create jobs, increase tourism and taxes accruable to the government.
“The public should visit them; they promote wellness and help us live longer.
“Many of our Museums will throw their doors open to the public on this day, free of charge, the public should make good use of the opportunity which the Museum Day offers, to get to know their Museums better,” he said.
Also, a Nigeria Heritage Consultant, Dr. Amos Olorunnipa, said museums contributed to society’s development by enabling visitors to understand the society and culture.
Olorunnipa, also a retired Deputy Director NCMM, said as the world was moving faster than ever, museums were increasingly important spaces to foster cohesion and understanding.
He called for the establishment of Community Museums in every community.
“Such should be treated as state of emergency that needs urgent attention of the government and all stakeholders.
“Institution of a Cultural Fund Project (CFP) similar to ecological fund in the country should be urgently put in place specifically for funding museums.
“Apart from this, we need careful inventory and documentation of our artefact, monuments, built heritage, culture tangible and intangible for their concrete preservation, conservation, management and marketing,” he said.
Olorunnipa, a former Curator with National Museum of Unity, Ibadan, urged museums to align with educational and art institutions from the grassroots to higher levels of the education systems.
This he said, would require some examination of the relationships between individual museums, the communities and societies they function within.
He said the objective of IMD was to raise awareness about the fact that Museums were important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.
Museums, he said, provided social impact through their programmes and services as well as opportunities for community participation.
According to him, museums can discipline the mind set of people owing to the fact that people in general considered museums as reliable sources for gaining knowledge and understanding their surroundings.(NAN)