DEPARTMENT OF MUSEUMS AND MONUMENTS
The Department is mandated to Protect, Promote and Present the cultural and natural Heritage of Uganda through Collection, Conservation, study and information dissemination for enjoyment and education.
To Impact Knowledge of cultural and natural heritage to the present and future generations for their enjoyment
FUNCTIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT
The department’s key functions are;
- Research about natural and cultural heritage
- Conservation, and maintenance of important physical cultural Resources or Heritage Collections.
- Provision of professional knowledge and information regarding the archaeology and paleontology of Uganda
- Publication of research findings in appropriate publications
- Exhibition and interpretation of specimens for public study and enjoyment
- Monitoring implementation policies and strategies of historical and cultural heritage conservation and development.
- Development of strategies for community participation in cultural heritage.
- Promote public awareness about cultural and natural heritage through formal and informal education.
- Provide technical guidelines to the private investors
Key achievements over the past five years
- Over the past three years, a lot of in house orientation has been undertaken. As a result, most of the routine preservation works can now be handled by the Museum personnel. However specialized skills for the staff in scientific conservation skills are necessary to advance research activities.
- There are three prospective upcoming regional Museums. While the Soroti Museum is poorly functioning in a one display room in Soroti Municipality, plans are in the pipeline to build a fully-fledged museum at a location already secured in Soroti Town. The Moroto Museum building and displays have been completed. Mobilization of the construction of the cultural house by the local community to display of their life style is in progress. The Kabale Museum construction at Rwakaraba in Kabale town has been completed.
- Fruitful Research on Uganda’s cultural heritage in collaboration with national and international institutions of higher learning has been realized over the past five years; Publications of the findings from Karamoja, Mt. Elgon, and Western Rift Valley are now available in both hard and soft copy.
- Storage facilities at the National Museum has been greatly improved and stored objects are being digitized
- A draft copy for the Museums and Monuments Department is in place consultations is ongoing and once it is completed and approved, it will guide the Revision of the existing Historical Monuments Act of 1967.
- Sensitization and preservation of rock art sites in Eastern Uganda has been greatly enhanced and a nomination dossier has been prepared for the nomination of Nyero Rock Art paintings on the UNESCO world heritage list. Others on the tentative list awaiting nomination are Kibiro Salt Gardens, Bigo bya Mugyenyi, Ntusi archaeological sites and Namugongo Martyrs shrine.
Challenges and Constraints
- The Department of Museums and Monuments solely depends on Government for funding its operations. The Department requires substantial funds to finance its activities throughout the country. However, currently its funding is limited to government monthly releases which pay staff salaries and a few operations and as a result cannot initiate any sustainable project.
- Most of the historic sites and monuments are lying in fallow, they have not been developed as a result, and the communities around them have started to encroach on them. An example in case is the Bigo Bya Mugyenyi and Ntusi archaeological sites.
- The staff has limited professional trainings in the disciplines of museology and research. Training in specialized courses will strengthen the capacity of the Museum and Monuments Services.
- There are inadequate facilities for the department to undertake research, documentation, laboratory tests and educational programs. Other constraints include; transport, camping equipment, and upkeep. Need to equip the laboratory and equip it with all the necessary equipments.
- Most of the exhibits in the museums are old and need redesigning and improvement.
- Redesign the museum displays into a modern display, digital (virtual image) so as to capture the modern history and demands of the public needs.
- Since the demand for cultural heritage is increasing, there is need to develop tourism products based on the rich cultural history and on the diverse traditions of the Ugandan people hence the development of Heritage Trails and Uganda safari packages that will enhance the value of Bigo Bya Mugyenyi and Ntusi archeological Sites Nakaima tree, Rock art sites of eastern Uganda, the slave trade routes and other historic sites in the country.
- The construction of Soroti Cultural Centers as a regional museum representation. Land for this cause is already available.
- The revision of the 1967 Historical Monuments Act into a law and a policy to guide the implementation of this law.
- Capacity should be built to man the faculties of the institution. Train staff in specialized skills of museology, preventive conservation, research, Impact assessments, and field surveys.
- Expansion of the Uganda National Museum; build more galleries to display the many artifacts in the storage, provide research facilities like laboratory, cold room, sound rooms and more storage spacea dynamic folk centre.