DOES AFRICA NEED MUSEUMS?

  • Lena Millinger

Abstract

African museums are to a large extent built by the colonizers to show their compatriots what Africa is. The collections are made by foreigners to the country. The present day museums are to a large extent, if not totally, dependent on foreign money for their existence. Yet in their strategies development agencies stress culture as an important ingredient of development. What culture? Whose culture? Can African culture, mostly intangible heritage, be placed within four walls, mostly to be visited by tourists? Can foreigners choose the way a cultural identity is presented? How free are museum directors to present cultural heritage when funding comes from abroad? How can cultural heritage be preserved and presented to raise self-respect and pride and build identities? This thesis, based on a recent field study in Senegal and Mali, raises questions about development aid, cultural heritage and neocolonialism.

Author Biography

Lena Millinger
Market Communications Manager at the Malmö Museums and secretary of the Marketing& PR committee of ICOM. In 2000-2002 she coordinated the project "Keys to Memory" and the EUsupported international "Migrating Memories". She teaches a course on Museums and the Future at the University of Lund, Department for Museum Studies. This article is based on her master thesis entitled "Does Africa Need Museums?" (June 2004).
Published
2005-05-27
Section
Articles