National Museums in Africa : Identity, History and Politics book cover
1st Edition

National Museums in Africa
Identity, History and Politics

ISBN 9780367821401
Published August 13, 2021 by Routledge
284 Pages 40 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

National Museums in Africa brings the voices of African museum professionals into dialogue with scholars and, by so doing, is able to consider the state of African national museums from fresh perspectives.

Covering all regions of the continent, the volume’s thirteen chapters allow for a deep and nuanced understanding of the intricate interplay between past and present in contemporary Africa. Taking stock of the shifting museum landscape in Africa, with new players like China and South Korea challenging the conditions of cultural exchange, the book demonstrates that national museums are being rediscovered as important sites of political engagement and cultural negotiation. This is the first book to critically examine the roles national museums in Africa have played in the societies in which they are situated, but it is also the first to consider the roles that national museums might play in current debates concerning the restitution and repatriation of cultural patrimony taken from Africa during the colonial era.

Informed by a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective, this ground-breaking book will appeal to anyone interested in museums in Africa. It will be particularly useful to scholars and students working in the areas of museum and heritage studies, African studies, anthropology, archaeology, history, art history and cultural studies.

Table of Contents

List of figures

List of tables

List of contributors


Chapter 1

Visibility, Democracy, and the National Museum Network in Morocco

Samir Kafas and Ashley V. Miller

Chapter 2

The Sudan National Museum and National Heritage in Sudan

Abdelrahman Ali Mohamed and Geoff Emberling

Chapter 3

National Identities and the National Museum of Ethiopia

Merkeb Mekuria and Raymond Silverman

Chapter 4

National Museums of Kenya: From Inception to the Post-Devolution Era

Rosalie Hans and David Mbuthia

Chapter 5

Collecting Obsolete Things at the Uganda Museum

Derek R. Peterson and Nelson Abiti

Chapter 6

Korea and the New National Museum in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Building a Museum, Building Relations?

Augustin Bikale Mukundayi and Sarah Van Beurden

Chapter 7

Le Musée des Civilisations Noires: A Continuous Creation of Humanity

Hamady Bocoum and El Hadji Malick Ndiaye

Chapter 8

The National Museum of Mali, 1960 - Present: Protecting and Promoting the National Cultural Heritage

Mary Jo Arnoldi, Daouda Kéita and Samuel Sidibé

Chapter 9

Le Musée National Boubou Hama du Niger: A Return to Research

Maki Garba and Amanda Gilvin

Chapter 10

Giving the National Museum of Ghana a New Life

Kodzo Gavua and Dominic Dekumwine Kuntaa

Chapter 11

The Nigerian National Museums and the Challenges of National Unity and Development: The Black Benz and the Return of Lost Treasures

Okechukwu Nwafor and Edith Ekunke

Chapter 12

Towards a Critical History of the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe: Rethinking Pastness and Materiality

Munyaradzi Elton Sagiya and Joost Fontein

Chapter 13

Rethinking the National and the Museum at Iziko Museums of South Africa

Bongani Ndhlovu and Ciraj Rassool


National Museums in Africa: A Conversation

Peter Probst and George Abungu


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Raymond Silverman, a historian of the visual cultures of Africa, is Professor Emeritus of History of Art, African Studies and Museum Studies at University of Michigan.

George Henry Okello Abungu is an archaeologist and Emeritus Director-General of the National Museums of Kenya. He is the founding Chairman of Africa 2009, the International Standing Committee on the Traffic in Illicit Antiquities, and the Centre for Heritage Development in Africa.

Peter Probst is Professor in the Department of Art History at Tufts University, Boston, where he directs the Museums, Memory and Heritage Program. He has published widely on African modernism, iconoclasm, and the politics of heritage.