Written By Sunday Kantiyok
For some years now, the Nigerian government has been encouraging tourism in the country by making effort to ensure that they create awareness to both Nigerians and foreigners to know the potential of tourism in our country and to equally invest into it with a view to encourage people to harness these potentials for recreational activities as well as add to its revenue base.
The museum in Nigeria is one of those TOURISM POTENTIAL THAT NIGERIANS AND TOURISTS CAN NOT JUST abandon, if truly one wants a place of cultural heritage to visit, the museum in Nigeria are each unique in location, designed, history, facilities and services .
In my interaction with a lot of people I have come across seem not to be aware of the museum, its meaning and what it does.
Often when you meet people that seem to know a little about the museum, they seem to narrow the museum to a place where ancient objects are kept and with the Nigerian quest for modernity have little or no regards for the museum as such will hardly think of visiting the museum even when they do, they hardly create time to visit.
According to the international council of museums (ICOM) statues, adopted by the 22nd general assembly in Vienna, Austria on August 24th, 2007.
A museum is a non-profit permanent institution in the services of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purpose of education, study and enjoyment.
The above definition is to the community the museum serves as well as the larger society. If the museum is designed to serve its immediate community and the larger society, why won’t the people create time to visit the museum available within their reach?
In Nigeria, most museums are owned and run by the government. The Nigerian government has deemed it fit to institute the National Commission for Museums and Monuments to see to the administration of all the museums and monuments under it. The government has seen the importance of the services the museum renders to its citizens and global community.
MUSEUM IS FOR PEOPLE
As ICOM definition states that the museum is an institution in the services of the society and opened to the public. By implication, the museum is for the people. Whatever services the museum offers is for the people. So, what are some of the services a museum offer to the people?
As the museum acquires its artifacts, conserves and communicates, it is doing that to draw the attention and admiration of the people and it does this by exhibiting its collections to the people. So, people visit the museum to see, observe and even watch what has been showcase for them by the museum. The museum’s exhibition can draw attention of the academic institution for educational services where the object could serve as apparatus to what has been taught in terms of cultural heritage and values in a classroom situation or also trigger research measure for more knowledge.
The museum provides recreational services where people visit to break boredom after a hectic activity, one can go there to relax and refresh or even to reflect on life situations and circumstances. The museum gives opportunity to reflect on the past, present and ponder on what the future can bear
BENEFITS OF VISITING THE MUSEUM
As mentioned above, a visit to the museum gives you a moment of relaxation from the pressure of life experiences so that by the time you are living the premises, you feel enlightened. It is a place where you acquire wealth of knowledge, considering our rich cultural heritage, the museum helps one to explore and acquire a lot of knowledge on the tangible and intangible heritage we have.
Okpoko. A. I (2011) in fundamentals of museum practices states some benefits as follows;
- People can become aware of their cultural identity.
- Their relationship with their environment, their environment and their past
- Their need to infuse certain basic values of the past and into the various elements of the contemporary practices where such past values are still relevant to the present day needs and aspirations.
Other benefits include;
- Museums provides an effective way of learning: Museums are examples of informal learning environment which means that they are purposely for informal education. A single visit to the museum can expose visitors to in-depth information as a subject.
- Museums are s great way to spend time with friends and family: A day at the museum often translate to a day spent with loved ones as parents transform into tour guides and the environment provides a shared learning experience.
- Museum has a tendency to make you feel good: As you visit a museum you have a tendency to psychologically weed out any negative memories if there be any.
- Museums inspire: A visit to a museum provides inspiration through personal connection with other visitors which can connect you through their social media, this keeps personal memories created at museums do not expire.
The museum is a significant avenue which makes you become aware of your cultural identity, your relationship with your environment, your past and the need to imbibe some values of the past into the various elements of the contemporary practices. A visit to the museum broadens your knowledge of the different ethnic groups and cultural affiliation of the nation and promotes mutual understanding and respect amongst the peoples that make up Nigeria.
May I conclude by letting you know that the museum embraces all class of people and friendly to all by providing facilities such as the galleries, libraries, museum kitchen (restaurants) where traditional dishes among others, some museums provide cultural activities such as traditional dances, music, drama, and film show to the public for relaxation. There are also carefully planned designs programs for children and even adults for growth and development.
A visit to the museum makes you relaxed, refreshed, and increases your knowledge of our rich cultural heritage, shaping your understanding of our cultural affiliation and adds values to life and the rich Nigeria national cultural heritage. You will do well to look for a museum available at your reach and experience some of these benefits mentioned, and don’t forget to encourage others to do so.
Kantiyok is of National Museum Kaduna and can be contacted via Sundaykantiyok@gmail. com and 08028193911