ABOUT THE EVENT: A Historical Background
Internatioal Council of Museums (ICOM) has since 1977 organised international museum day which represent a unique moment for the international museum community with the objective to raise awareness on the fact that museums are important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of culture and development of mutual understanding, corporation and peace among people.
The event and activities planned to celebrate the international museum day can last a day, weekend or a whole week however, IMD was first celebrated 40 years and ever since then witnessed tremendous momentum and acceptance globally. More than 37, 000 museums participated in the celebration of International Museum Day in about 158 countries and territories last year.
International Museum Day 2019 focuses on the new role of museums as active actors in their communities with the theme “MUSEUMS AS CULTURAL HUBS: THE FUTURE OF TRADITION” aimed to look at the changing role of museum in the society. Museums keep reinventing themselves in their quest for becoming more interactive, audience focused, community oriented, flexible, adoptable and mobile. Museums have become cultural hubs functioning as platform where creativity combines with knowledge and where visitors can also co-create, share and interact.
While preserving their primary mission of collecting, conservation, communication, research and exhibition; museum has transformed their practices to remain closer to the community they serve. Today, they look for innovative ways to tackle contemporary social issues and conflict. By acting locally, museums can also advocate and mitigate global problems, striving to meet the challenges today’s society pro actively. As institutions at the earth of the society, museums have the power to establish dialogue between cultures to build bridges for a peaceful world and to define sustainable future.
As museums increase my grow into their roles as cultural hubs, they are also finding new ways to honor their collections, their histories and their legacies, creating tradition that will have new meaning for future generations and relevance for an increasingly diverse contemporary audience at a global level. This transformation, which will have a profound impact on museum theory and practice, also forces us to rethink the value of museums and to question the ethical boundaries that define the very nature of our work as museum professionals.
At once a focal point for the communi5y and an integral part of global network, museums offer a platform for translating local communities’ needs and views into a global context.
THE NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR MUSEUMS AND MONUMENTS:
The federal government of Nigeria in 1979 with the decree 77 of 1979 established the National Commission for Museums and Monumens as a replacement for the Federal Antiquities Department to manage the collection, documentation, conservation and presentation of the National Cultural Properties to the public for the purposes of Education, Enlightenment and Entertainment.
Consequent upon the impact of the Nigeria civil war, the Federal Government in it’s quest for lasting unity in the country planned Museums of national unity in four (4) locations to serve as veritable instruments of cultural education through which peace and understanding among the various Nigeria nationalities could be achieved. At the moment, the museums of national unity in Ibadan and Enugu have been completed, commissioned and opened to the public in 2002 and 2006 respectively. In like manner, sites have been secured and construction works ongoing in Maiduguri and Sokoto.
Presently, the National Commission for Museums & Monuments manages and oversees fifty museums and outlet spread across the country.
These includes museums in Abeokuta, Aba, Akure, Asaba, Benin, Calabar, Enugu, Esie, Ibadan, Igbo-Ukwu, Ile-Ife, Ilorin, Jos, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Lafia, Lagos, Lokoja, Maiduguri, Makurdi, Minna, Nok, Osogbo, Oyo, Oron, Owerri, Owo, Port-Harcourt, Sokoto, Umuahia, Uyo, Yola, and the Institute of Archaeology and Museum Studies in Jos. Others are : Museums of traditional Nigeria Architecture, Jos, Rock Art Interpretation Centre, Birnin Kudu, Nana Living History Museum, Koko, Hong Eco-Museum, Community Museum Ogbomosho and Oko-Surulere ICT Centre. There are also two (2) UNESCO World Heritage Sites namely Sukur Cultural Landscape and Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove.
NCMM is the representative of Nigeria at the International Cultural Bodies like the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the International Centre for the Study of the Restoration and Preservation of Cultural Properties (ICCROM), the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) the African Council on Museums (AFRICOM) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO) among others.
The Acting Director General, NCMM, Abdulkerim O. Kadiri FCA in his welcome address on the auspicious occasion of the 2019 International Museum Day says the event is meant to refresh their collective memories as a period set aside by ICOM in 1977 to count the gains as an institution and also a way forward for the coming year. He further charges the public to see museums as the central bank for cultural properties, and central point of cultural activities where cultural heritage is projected and enjoyed.
On the objects, he said, themselves tell the stories of the pluralistic culture of the people of the world and their natural heritage like skills, inventiveness and creativity as the material cultural evident of the people and thereby
used the forum to solicit for a more concerted approach by government, other cultural stakeholders and corporate bodies toward making museum services in Nigeria comparable to those of others however, optimistic that the various challenges facing the institution can be surmounted if adequate commitment is demonstrate by all.
In a good will message by the chairman, governing board, NCMM, Arch. Umma Dambo Mamman-Da decry the rate at which our tradition is being eroded by western norms and values while commending the acting DG, management and staff of the commission both past and present for their unrelenting professional effort at preserving, conserving, exhibiting and promoting our culture and tradition for the present and posterity which she says would have gone into extinction if not for the concerted efforts of the museums.
The Hon. Minister for Information and Culture in a speech delivered by his representative at the event says museums have to become expansive of their role, not just in presenting and representing culture, but as space where ideas, values and desires converge and are contested, enabling discussion, syntheses and fusions that are necessary within and between cultures to promote a better understanding of our diversity. Optimistic that culture could be the cash cow in propelling the Nigeria economy; therefore urges the entire museum management and communities to seek opportunities ventures for sustainable tourism development.
Mr. George Agbo, the immediate past president, Artifact Rescuer Association of Nigeria (ARAN) in an interaction with journalist says the returned of history as part of school curriculum (syllabus) will help in retracing the eroded culture and tradition by western norms and values.
Aruna S. G. Amirthanayagam, USA Counselor for Public Affairs to Nigeria in an interview assured Nigeria government of collaboration while
the DG, NCMM in the interaction with newsmen says the Nigeria government is in collaboration with other countries across the globe to ensuring the returns home of all Nigeria’s cultural heritage abroad.
The 2019 International Museum Day which feature cultural performances from pupils and students from schools across Abuja climax by the cutting of the cake and presentation of gifts to pupils, students and schools as well as the visit of a US based Ebonyi born Nigerian and his US national wife, Dr. & Mrs. Ezikpe Akuma to the DG NCMM office to mark the world museum day.