Uganda Museum announced its first steps to decolonise its exhibitions on May 7. In a project called MuseumFutures Africa, Uganda Museum will start working towards diverging from colonial museology to ‘Africology’ in studying and presenting African histories and culture, together with five other museums across the continent.
The museums are now working in pairings to exchange ideas in monthly workshops until September 2021. Some of the other museums include The National Museums of Kenya and South Africa’s Steve Biko Center.
Catherine Ajiambo, the research officer at the Uganda Museum, in a statement to the press, stated, “We are excited to be part of MuseumFutures Africa because it gives us an opportunity to go back in the past, be in the present and also visit the future to analyse our histories. From there, we are able to interact with our museum communities who are usually on the periphery of everyday museum work – thereby rewriting our stories the way we know how and want to.”
Spearheaded by the Goethe-Institut and a team of practitioners from the art and museum fields, the project was conceived in culmination of a series of ‘Museum Conversations’ in 2019, as a means of mobilising museum-driven processes of innovation, transformation and adaptation. The project aims to support the conceptual development of museums throughout the continent.
The project encourages peer-to-peer learning between and within African Museums so that through intra-African dialogue, co-creation and self-driven study-labs, museums are addressing endemic challenges. The six African museums are encouraged to form study groups to find new ways of collecting, researching, mediating and engaging society. Uganda Museum is paired with the Steve Biko Center of South Africa in this once in a life time project.
“This (project) is expected to facilitate the ongoing transformation of African museums and the cultural sector by widening the platform of the museums through engagement with surrounding communities and inter-disciplinary engagement. Hence, the curriculum is structured to value the museum and community contributions to bring about desired change with new ideas, exhibitions, programmes and education packages that inspire a new generation of African experts and museums,” the statement read.
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