By Fred Kiva
Uganda Community Museums Association (UCOMA), an umbrella organization of all community museums in the country is appealing for government support ahead of International Museums Day commemoration on May 18.
Uganda will join the rest of the world to mark the day which focuses on the role of museums as key actors in the community, in terms of cultural heritage preservation.
Addressing the media at Uganda Museum on Thursday, Abraham Kitaulwa, the UCOMA Chairperson stressed need for government to specifically allocate a fund for community museums, which he said should be reflected in the national budget through the Department of Museums and Monuments. “These funds could also include support to research and documentation to enhance the knowledge base of community museums,” Kitaulwa said.
Although Kitaulwa did not give a breakdown of how much support the association needs, Moses Akugizibwe, the Association treasurer revealed that as per the current short term strategic plan, they need Shs10million for strengthening institutional capacity.
The Association also asks government to implement the 2015 Museums and Monuments Policy in order to provide technical support and guidance to community museums. “This capacity building support could be through external technical experts in museum management for community museum initiators and Community Development Officers (CDOs), exchange visits abroad or through identifying training opportunities for community museum operators,” the UCOMA chairman said.
UCOMA also demands support in heritage education to the young, both in school and out of school, since “The safeguarding of Uganda’s cultural heritage resources and her identity as a nation rests in the hands of young people who constitute about 75% of our population.”
In Uganda celebrations to mark International Museums Day will be held at the Uganda Museum on Saturday. According to UCOMA, there are 35 community museums spread across the country. Of the 35, only 22 are registered with the Association.
Some of the registered community museums include; Mountains of the Moon University Museum, Obudhingiya Bwa Bwamba Cultural Information Centre and Museum, Bunyoro Community Historical Museum Associates, Bugungu Heritage and Cultural Information Centre, Kooki Cultural Museum and Ham Mukasa Museum among others.