Monday, August 21, 2006

A National Museum in Abuja..

If you look at the original master-plan for Abuja, you'll see that there was a large space allotted for a National Museum, somewhere near to where the Hilton is today. Someone should start to push for this building project to be resurrected, to replace the slowly dying National Museum in Onikan, Lagos. At the moment, Abuja, a capital city of a country with a population well over 100 million, has nothing to show visitors in terms of culture. A National Museum in Abuja could also be the catalyst to regain stolen artefacts from colonial times, beginning with the Benin Bronzes, languishing in a basement in the British Museum..


Anonymous,  10:01 pm  

Very beautiful carving. I'd love to see a national museum in abuja, or really several museums nationwide to give nigerians a look at thier own culture first.

Thanks for the info. Where can one get the masterplan for abuja anyway?

Jeremy 10:10 pm  

let me see if I can't get hold of one and scan it..

St Antonym 10:18 pm  

Not a carving, anonymous, but rather a terracotta (fired clay) head from Ife.

An astonishing piece.

When the German archaeologists unearthed the first of these about a hundred years ago, they declared that they must have been made by "a race far superior to the negro." Idiots.

Styl Council 8:03 am  

St Antonym, I concure...and how sad it is that the greater idiots (Nigerian govermentment) have failed to not only clelebrate this increadible asncient skill of our ancestors but they've also failed to promote it! Bastards!

J...thanks for the info!

culturalmiscellany 11:39 am  

I agree that the plan should be rescurected and a National Museum built in Abuja. However, I disagree with your comment that Nigeria has nothing to show visitors in terms of culture, the Calabar and Jos Museums are very good and worthy of a mentioned albeit they are not in the named capital. Can anyone tell me if the MOTNA Complex in Jos has moved onto Yoruba architecture yet or is the exhibition still 90% Hausa architecture?

culturalmiscellany 11:45 am  

Sorry J, just realised I slightly misread your post so ignore comment re: me disagreeing with you. [Most haste less speed needed!]

Anonymous,  11:58 am  

yes but if you were going to Italy (say) : as a TOURIST - not to buy gold - you are most likely to tour Rome. Point? If there is no museum in Abuja and the one in Lagos is Rotting away. It probably means Nigeria has nothing to show i'm afraid. Visitors are not likely to head straight to Calabar and like you mentioned, the museum in Jos may only reflect nothern culture

the flying monkeys 2:42 pm  

I fully appreciate the above comments especially that of culturalmiscellany and am well aware of its contents. The fundamental feature of this blog is the ability to express your opinion and it is with that very spirit that I can fully acknowledge and appreciate it.

culturalmiscellany 2:57 pm  

Anonymous, I agree with you hence I retracted my initial comment as I posted too quickly. However, I disagree that most people visiting a country go to the capital city. To most people Nigeria is still Lagos as that is the commercial hub just as Douala is still majorly considered the capital of Cameroon and not Yaounde. But, I do understand your point that it is disappointing for Abuja to have been developed as much as it has without there yet being sign of a 'tourist' attraction hence why I skipped through it relatively quickly on my visit to Nigeria which is a shame!

FYI - the museums in Jos do not only refer to ancient history of Nigeria. When I was there they had a very interesting exhibition on the recent (at that time) riots and fires that had taken place in JOs resulting in the markethall being destroyed. This was ~2months after the event and was a very interesting exhibition covering both sides of the religious divide which I personally found very promising and more importantly informative. Maybe this is not available all the time but the curator was happy to assist my learning and spent a number of hours discussing the issues with me 1:1, something you would never get in the UK.

Chxta 3:47 pm  

Concerning the original post Jeremy, our people don't have a museum culture. Most Naija peeps are uninterested in what happened in times past. Two of the best museums in the country (IMHO) are wallowing away due to a severe lack of patronage: Umuahia and Benin, and I strongly believe that a new museum for Nigerians be it on Mars would head in the same direction.

Shango,  4:54 pm  

Just were are the archivists and other professionals who'd be in charge of this museum? Where are the resources to ensure treasures don't go "missing" or waste away in an environment ill-suited to long-term (and even short term) storage? I'd rather they languish in the basement of a place like the basement of the British Museum than lose them forever.

Anonymous,  7:35 pm  

I agree with you Shango - Just brings to mind the way we are now running our country after the Brits handed it back to us. I'm not suggesting we were or would be better off under colonial rule. Just a random thought.

nouvel observateur,  9:08 pm  

people - don't get so depressed! A national museum is not a pipe dream impossibility in Nigeria - just think of the kick-backs a big building like that would afford! Julius Berger would come running..

Seriously, in the scheme of things, a museum project in Abuja wouldnt cost the earth (less than a Presidential library I reckon). And it would do a lot to give Abuja a capital-feel, as opposed to a random concrete monstrosity feel. And there are many people in Nigeria who do care about our cultural heritage. Its a self-fulfilling prophesy to think otherwise.

Anonymous,  7:59 am  

I think nouvel O is right, we have to be careful not to get into self-fulfilling prophesy. We should all take a note from Ben Okri -

‘Stories are the secret reservoir of values: change the stories individuals or nations live by and tell themselves, and you change the individuals and nations’. I think until we are as Nigerians/Africans start to change the stories we tell ourselves, we'll continue to be 'under-developed'.

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