IT IS an established fact that Nigeria’s culture and unity are promoted through museums in the country. Every nation has a past, present and future and museums help a lot in telling narratives of nations, particularly, Nigeria.
Undoubtedly, Nigerian museum is profoundly endowed with great materials and information that can enrich and improve peaceful social system.
International Council of Museum (ICOM) defines museum as an institution (publicly or privately owned) which collects, preserves and displays objects (both natural and cultural) with the basic aim of entertaining, educating and providing materials for research on aspect of man’s heritage and development. Museum, certainly, houses the cultural soul of the nation. In other words, it is the cultural wealth of the nation in trust for all generations. Its functions and uniqueness speak volume of its importance to a nation.
However, museum, which is used as a medium for promoting peace, unity and showcasing our different cultures, tells the story of man the world over and how humanity has survived over the years. It is also worthy to note that a country that does not have peace will not grow economically, socially and otherwise. When there is no peace, there will be less resources to enhance growth and productivity. This, absolutely makes the country to be in abject poverty.
Nonetheless, museum is an important tool for promoting unity in our nation and other nations of the world. It definitely uses its resources to ensure understanding and appreciation of various groups and cultures. This cultural heritage brings about togetherness and social aspect of living in society and the world at large.
As a unifying factor, museum encourages social inclusion which brings about social equality to the community. In this regard, therefore, people are no longer treated as minorities. marginalisation also, becomes a thing of the past. It can be used to solve myriads of problems of the nation like insecurity, militancy and economic downturn.
It would be recalled that museums through their exhibits have showcased the things that bind us together. The exhibition of these objects makes people to start seeing each other as relatives and of course, will most likely relate and live peacefully.
Cultural exchange, however, brings about exchange of cultural ideas, beliefs and values in society. In this effect, peace and harmony can thrive within that environment. Obviously, our mode of dressing plays an important role in our culture and also unifies the country strongly. There is a saying that the way you dress is the way you will be addressed.
For example, an Hausa man putting on an Igbo man’s traditional attire or vice-versa will change the perception and psyche of each other thereby promoting peace and unity amongst each other. Moreover, our cultural dishes are part of the rich cultural heritage of our country. Nigerian indigenous foods are natural with their nutritional values intact, original and direct from the various sources.
Cultural sites and monuments have also contributed to the nation’s unity. The rain forest, mountains, deserts, beaches, mangrove forest and enormous rivers serve as tourist sites that attract people from different ethnic groups and society at large.
The upshot of this is that museums whether privately or publicly owned, have a lot of potentials in this country.
This stems from its numerous roles in particular, safe guarding our national unity and promotion of our cultural heritage both in Nigeria and in diaspora. According to submission made by one of the experts in museum, Dr. Omotoso Eluyemi, government should make financing of museum in Nigeria a top priority. Dr. Eluyemi advocated reinvigoration of museum to enable it get up to its responsibility and also encourage corporate organisations to partner museum in order to ensure maximum growth in our economy and our cultural heritage.