There is disheartening news that one of Uganda’s cultural heritage centers – the National museum will soon be no more. It has been reported in national newspapers that the home of the only remaining national museum will be demolished to allow the construction of a 60-storey office block for the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry. What a travesty.
But it's no surprise that government officials can take such a decision given that the Uganda museum is one of those important national institutions that have been neglected for rather to long. The structure that houses the museum was designed by a German architecture Ernst May more than 60 years ago to suit the purpose of the institution.
Thefore, apart from being a national historical monument , the museum houses a collection of historical artifacts and is a source of information on well over 650 cultural heritage sites dotted across the country. What this means is that the national museum is a center of learning about life, culture and heritage of the people of Uganda.
Dr Ephraim Kamuhangire, the former commissioner for Museum and Monuments and curator of the now dilapidated national museum is one of many Ugandans who are disappointed that nothing has been done to upgrade the institution-the only remaining national reference center on our cultural heritage.
Dr. Kamuhangire has noted that due to lack of funding , the Uganda museum has lost its place as the best in the East and Central Africa region. Uganda still needs this institution and every effort should be made by all concerned parties to protect its existence for the benefit of the present and future generations.
The idea of demolishing this historical monument must be scrapped and in its place plans are made to upgrade the museum to capture and reflect the country’s cultural and socio-economic transformation over the years. All advanced societies have preserved these institutions because of their unique and important functions in collecting scientific, educational and methodological works that seek to enhance the sense of national identity .
Government must therefore, support the role of the Uganda national museum to increase and preserve our cultural heritage, from the nation´s earliest settlement through to the modern day.
Its at the national museum that the past meets the present.
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY MONITOR
ADVOCATE OF THE HIGH COURT OF UGANDA