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Museum: A Melting Point For Socio-Cultural Integration
Published Nov 15, 2022 IN Features,
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BY EROMINAH ALIANETU MUTANEBI

MUSEUM basically is a store house for cultural artifacts. It is a place where objects of historical and cultural concern are kept for study, research, and exhibited for public view and entertainment.

The museum is an international organization. Its activities are supervised and coordinated by the international council of museums (ICOM).

To make concrete the significance of museums, ICOM came up with a working definition of museum as “A non-profit making institution. In the service of society and its development and open to the public which acquires, conserves, researches, communicate and exhibit for the purpose of study, education and enjoyment, material evidence of man and his environment.

From the above definition, it shows clearly that the museum is primarily out or sets out to inform and transform the society through its various organs and departments.

A typical museum consists of the documentation unit, Education, Heritage/Sites, Conservation Unit, Ethnography, Exhibition, Gallery, Export permit, Antiquity protection Unit (A.P.U) and Acct/Audit as well as the central Administration.

The aforementioned units are fused into the following Departments namely: museums, Education, Research /Planning/Publication, Heritage Monuments and sites, Accts and Audit. All these departments play complementary roles to make the museum comes alive. It should be noted that the museum major stock in trade are the objects: cultural, material and non-materials, tangible and intangible.

How do these objects come into the museum? They come either through purchase i.e. the museum management buying them from individuals, family or organizations. It could also be through Loans/Donations (people: individuals or families) can loan or donate their cultural objects/artifacts to the museum management to enhance their collections. The objects can also be acquired through seizure.

This could be from illegal vendors or traffickers. These are the principal ways objects are brought into the museum. Whichever of these ways, the objects come into the museum; they must undergo a thorough process of documentation. The Documentation unit ensures that vital information about the objects is taken down.

This may include: The name, date of production, the size, method of production: whether carved, weaved, cast etc. The condition of the object at the point of entrance will also be documented. Any object not in a very good state e.g. any with deformity or infested either by any form of rust or destructive agents are set aside and taken to the conservation lab for treatment. The treatment could be preventive or curative depending on the state or level of infection or devastation. Some of the objects are taken into the storage while some others will be taken to the gallery for exhibition.

The purpose of exhibiting these objects is to create awareness and impact on the visitors. The storyline behind these exhibitions create different impression in the minds of visitors. Some may just bring or take you back memory lane in which you immediately remember those good old days participating in one festival or celebration. There are some storyline that corroborate some versions or information about your cultural background. It should be noted here that one of the functions of the museum is carrying out research to either authenticate an existing myth or to provide additional information or to even set aside an already held knowledge.

Museum indeed is a melting point of socio-cultural integration. The education department pays periodic visits to schools teaching the students and educating them on trending events. They also organize training workshops where students and pupils are taught some trades. They are also taught arts/craft. Talk shows are also organized for students were they are taught on dressing, respect, courtesy and how to live responsibly.

Visiting the museum no doubt will go a long way in broadening your social horizon. Friends are made, relationship is contracted, there is room for cross-fertilization of ideas, and there is exchange of cultural information and integration.

Some people easily fall in love with some cultures or tribe by mere coming in contact with some objects and artifacts from some tribes. Culture is magnetic and can be intoxicating. It can also be contagious just as some people are more emotional than others, so is the people responses to arts and culture and one major place to get Romanizing with culture is the museum.

 

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