Rwanda's National Museum centre promotes cultural heritage

The unique event had activities like a free tour at the Ethnographic Museum.

The Ethnographic Museum hosted a pottery session. PHOTO | ANDREW KAZIBWE | NATION 

IN SUMMARY

  • The museum hosted activities from the beginning of the month until December 9 at the Ethnographic Museum in Huye district. The unique event had activities like a free tour at the Ethnographic Museum —Rwanda’s first museum that dates back to 1989.

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The National Museums of Rwanda recently embarked on promoting and raising awareness about the country’s cultural heritage.

The museum hosted activities from the beginning of the month until December 9 at the Ethnographic Museum in Huye district. The unique event had activities like a free tour at the Ethnographic Museum —Rwanda’s first museum that dates back to 1989. Participants got guided tours of the country’s pre-colonial and post-colonial periods.
The museum’s grounds were arranged in a way that reflected the country’s ancient norms and customs. They included ububoshyi (weaving), kumasha (archery), ububumbyi (pottery), ububaji (wood carving), traditional attire and dance styles among others.

The activities were especially beneficial to parents who want their children to gain an appreciation for cultural values, knowledge, skills and norms.

Annual tourism venture
“It is important for our children to experience different forms of culture and the practical activities enabled this,” said Monica Umwere, a parent who attended the week-long event with her daughter.
“Rwandans love their culture, but they rarely get the opportunity to experience it through these hand-on activities,” said Isidore Ndikumana, the museum’s head of Cultural promotions.
“We are hoping that this programme can be developed as an annual tourism venture that will target both local and foreign visitors. It is a celebration of the country’s traditional culture and raises awareness about cultural awareness and norms,” said John Bosco Safari , the manager of the Ethnographic Museum.

Limited budget
Despite its current growth with the Ethnographic Museum, which was started in 1989, to the establishment of seven more museums, and over 500 heritage sites, the museum still suffers from a limited budget. This hinders marketing and promotion campaigns.
“Getting more funding is a major challenge that hinders our promotion activities,” said Mr Ndikumana.
The event at the Ethnographic Museum did not attract as many people as planned, partly due to a failure of the promotion to reach a wider audience.
“The museum is in plans to run more marketing campaigns,” said David Nkusi, the museum’s Heritage Specialist.
The Ethnographic Museum event cost an estimated Rwf5 million ($5,850), of which Rwf3 million ($3,510) was from the museum’s budget, while the rest was from a sponsorship deal.
Mr Ndikumana said that with about Rwf50 million ($58,500), the museum could carry out its expansion plans.
With sufficient funding, Mr Ndikumana said the museum could expand its activities to various learning institutions in the country.
The National Museums of Rwanda recently launched the Campaign Against Genocide Museum, a new facility located in Kigali. Other museums in the country are the Kings Palace Museum, Natural art Gallery and Ethnographic museums in Huye, Environmental Museum, Natural History museum in Kandt House,  Presidential Palace Museum in Kigali and Liberation/Open Air Museum (Umulindi W’intwari).

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