1st Edition

Museums as Agents for Social Change Collaborative Programmes at the Mutare Museum

By Njabulo Chipangura, Jesmael Mataga Copyright 2021
    138 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    138 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Museums as Agents for Social Change is the first comprehensive text to examine museum practice in a decolonised moment, moving beyond known roles of object collection and presentation.

    Drawing on studies of Mutare museum, a regional museum in Eastern Zimbabwe, this book considers how museums with inherited colonial legacies are dealing with their new environments. The book provides an examination of Mutare museum’s activism in engaging with topical issues affecting its surrounding community and Chipangura and Mataga demonstrate how new forms of engagement are being deployed to attract new audiences, whilst dealing with issues such as economic livelihoods, poverty, displacement, climate change and education. Illustrating how recent programmes have helped to reposition Mutare museum as a decolonial agent of social change and an important community anchor institution, the book also demonstrates how other museums can move beyond the colonial preoccupation with the gathering of collections, conservation and presentation of cultural heritage to the public.

    Museums as Agents for Social Change will primarily be of interest to academics and students working in the fields of museum and heritage studies, history, archaeology and anthropology. It should also be appealing to museum professionals around the world who are interested in learning more about how to decolonise their museum.

    Introduction: Museum Pasts and Decolonised Futures in Africa;  1. Beating the Drums: Co-curatorship and Reconfiguration of Colonial Ethnographic Collections;  2. Museum Activism: Decolonised Exhibition Practices, Public Pedagogies and Social Change;  3. Heritage, Communities and Collaborative Involvement at Matendera Archaeological Site;  4. Inclusion, Collaboration and Sustainable Heritage Conservation Practices at the Ziwa Archaeological Site;  5. Conclusion: Local Communities and the Future of the African Museum


    Njabulo Chipangura is a postdoctoral research fellow at Centre for Urbanism and Built Environment Studies (CUBES), University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and a visiting fellow in the Museum and Gallery Practice Programme at University College London, Qatar. He has previously worked as curator of archaeology at Mutare museum, Eastern Zimbabwe for ten years.

    Jesmael Mataga is an Associate Professor of Heritage Studies and the Head of the School of Humanities at Sol Plaatje University (SPU), a new university in Kimberley, South Africa. He previously worked for the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) and taught at the University of Zimbabwe and at the National University of Lesotho