Norwegian Funds-in-Trust helps safeguard endangered museum collections in Africa

Norwegian Funds-in-Trust helps safeguard endangered museum collections in Africa
  • Harar City Museum

On 23 June 2005, the Government of Norway announced a new two-year UNESCO Funds-in-Trust project to safeguard endangered museum collections and to promote cultural diversity in Ethiopia, Mali and Senegal.

The Norwegian Funds-in-Trust project "Museum- to-Museum Partnerships for the Protection of Cultural Diversity in Africa" reinforces the UNESCO Programme for the Preservation of Endangered Movable Cultural Properties and Museum Development, which was launched in 2004 to benefit Least Developed Countries, Low Income Countries and countries in transition.

This project is comprised of three separate activities in Ethiopia, Mali and Senegal, which have been decentralized to UNESCO Field Offices in Addis Ababa, Bamako and Dakar.

The project in Ethiopia focuses on the "Preservation of the collection for the cultural heritage of Harar City Museum". The following activities have been undertaken so far:

  • Memorandum of Understanding signed between Harar regional government and the Sherif Private Museum to define the modality by which the collections under the Sherif Private Museum will be transferred to the Harar City museum;
  • Set of equipment delivered to the Bureau for Youth, Culture and Sports of the Harar Regional Government on 22 September 2006;
  • Through the Centre for Heritage Development in Africa (CHDA), training on documentation was provided to a small group of heritage practitioners in Harar. They are currently inventorying the collections under the Sherif Private Museum.
  • CHDA has been contracted in an Advisory capacity to assist with the organization of exhibition space, inventory/documentation and the production of catalogues.

The project in Mali for the "Protection of the endangered collections and archaeological sites of the interior Niger Delta (Tenenkou region)" has been completed. The following activities were carried out:

  • Conservation equipment was purchased for the archaeological collections of the National Museum of Mali;
  • Brochures were published in French and Bambara to raise awareness among the local population about the risk of looting and illicit trafficking at the Natamatao archaeological site;
  • Inventories and photographs of the Collections of the Thial archaeological sites;
  • Publication of a catalogue of the collections;
  • Promotion and awareness-raising activities carried out, including publishing an information brochure in native languages, training local authorities and community leaders as well as the development of a travelling panel exhibition.

The project in Senegal aims for the ""Protection of the endangered collections and archaeological sites of the Research and Documentation Centre of the Senegal Museum (CRDS) in Saint-Louis". Activities carried out so far include:

  • Two computers and a photocopier were purchased for the CRDS in order to document collections;
  • Internet access was provided to the Centre;
  • Evaluations are currently being carried out to develop a unified collections management system;
  • Training for the conservation and management of collections was carried out in 2007 in St Louis by experts from the Senegal National Archives and the Ecole des Bibliothécaires, Archivistes et Documentalistes de Dakar (EBAD). This training was offered to librarians from 15 other documentation centres around the country.

  • Start Date: 01-01-2007   End Date: 01-01-2008
  • Lead Organization / Sector / Office: UNESCO Dakar, Addis Ababa & Bamako