Uganda tourism industry continues to celebrate the stay of the Uganda museum, however as Ugandans do this, they ought to reflect on why museums are important and deserve celebration. Globally, museums are a source of cultural knowledge of a given people in a given period. Often, it is not only the collection of arts in the museum that count, but the historic or cultural significance of the buildings within which they are hosted. A museum gives a country character and is a sign that the people of a country are cultured, value and respect their heritage, and are willing to learn from it.
Ahead in wisdom and intellectual capacity over his predecessor by miles, the new Minister for Tourism, Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, finally told the public what was an open secret in the corridors of the tourism ministry; that the museum will stay. Besides, the acting Principal Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Mr James Byenjeru, who presented an affidavit to the High Court in Kampala, said the planned complex that is to house the tourism ministry will instead be constructed near the museum.
“I know that the government intends to construct the East African Trade Centre next to the building housing the museum and as such does not intend to demolish the Uganda Museum”, said Mr Byenjeru. He also added that the Uganda government intends to expand the museum from the current 600 sq meters to 1,400 sq meters and the old structure will be preserved in the new structure and modernized with more displays of culture.
A while ago, the former tourism minister had insisted on plans to build a Trade Centre of 60 floors on the grounds of the National Museum, irrespective of the fact that the museum is a place of unique historical value for Ugandans and for Uganda. However, Tourism stakeholders breathed a sigh of relief when Gen. Otafire was moved to the Ministry of Justice, which move left the legal fraternity in stitches, and warmly welcomed Hon Prof. Ephraim, the “gentleman Minister” – as another stakeholder. Prof. Ephraim previously worked as the Minister of State in the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry.
“Our new minister is speaking on crucial issues like he was one of us”, commented one of the Uganda safari operators, showing that Prof. Ephraim’s hard work during the first few months in the Tourism office is beginning to pay off and earning him the respect of the tourism fraternity.
The Uganda National Museum is located in Kampala, and it is where Uganda’s natural history, traditional past, and ethnological collections of Ugandan culture is exhibited and displayed. Some of these collections do include; hunting equipment, musical instruments, archaeology, and entomology. The Uganda national museum was founded in 1908 when George Wilson called for “all articles of interest” on Uganda to be procured.
The largest general collections in Uganda, can be found at Makerere University’s main library in Kampala while all most important specialized collections in Kampala are in the Albert Cook Library at Makerere Medical School (Makerere University), Kyambogo Univeristy and in the Cabinet office.
Above all the museum is not only a building, but it is also a history and a country’s history. Therefore, demolishing the museum is a total destruction of Uganda’s soul – for, a country without a history, is a country without a soul.