• Through collaborative learning and continuous exchange of ideas, the programme hopes to educate the curators, and researchers on the importance the museums can play in fostering environmental awareness and supporting sustainable practices.
On Tuesday, the National Museums of Kenya through the government unveiled the third and final module of this year’s "TheMuseumLab."
Themed "Museums of the Future: Embracing Diversity and Sustainability in Nairobi," the two-week module seeks to offer a platform for professional exchanges between local and visiting curators, researchers, and executives.
The programme has attracted 46 participants from Albania, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Cameroon, Egypt, Germany, Kenya, Latvia, and Malawi.
Other countries include Namibia, Nigeria, Portugal, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Switzerland, Tanzania, Netherlands, Uganda, and the United Kingdom.
According to a statement by the National Museums of Kenya, the participants who were drawn from museums, galleries, and heritage sites, will explore museums in Nairobi and engage with spaces in relation to inclusivity, decolonization, and emerging global challenges such as the impact of Covid and climate change.
“Fellows will visit Nairobi Arts Gallery, and monument to reflect on diversity and sustainability besides holding discussions on heritage collections in post-colonial Kenya,” the statement read in part.
“They will also hold talks on challenging colonial histories at the Karen Blixen Museum, and at the Peace Memorial Museum where they will engage in discussions on the consequences of terrorism as well as the need for tolerance and reconciliation for a peaceful future.”
State Department for Culture and Heritage administrative secretary Herman Shambi said through collaborative learning and continuous exchange of ideas, the programme hopes to educate the curators, and researchers on the importance the museums can play in fostering environmental awareness and supporting sustainable practices.
Speaking on behalf of PS Ummi Bashir, he also said that it aims to help museums adopt eco-friendly practices, reduce their carbon footprint, and inspire visitors to take action towards a more sustainable future.
“This is an excellent platform where serious and productive engagements can be done and practical solutions sought on how to reposition museums for the future while embracing diversity and sustainability,” Shambi said.
“TheMuseumLab will also help foster talks about ethical collection management practices, such as the repatriation of cultural artefacts to their countries of origin.”
On her part, the National Museums of Kenya DG Mary Gikungu said the module is bringing fellows to Nairobi at a time when Kenyan museums are grappling with the challenges of a dramatically altered world.
This, she added, is a result of global challenges, with heritage managers being forced to consider the museums’ future.
“As you sample visits to various museums, galleries, heritage sites, and community spaces around Nairobi and a chance to engage in practical CoLab sessions and discussions, I take this opportunity to challenge you to come up with practical ways of repositioning museums for the future amid the global challenges,” Gikungu said.
“The choice to host the final phase of TheMuseumLab Programme at the National Museums of Kenya ‘Where Heritage Lives on’ is an honour.”
Gikungu also urged the participants to think of ways of establishing a dynamic and inclusive museum environment that represents the varied perspectives and ambitions of communities.
This is by encouraging cooperation, addressing current challenges, and supporting social change.