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17.10.2007 General News

Museums & monuments board in crisis

By daily Express- Samuel COLEMAN

A multiplicity of factors, mostly negative, is affecting the smooth operations of the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board. dailyEXPRESS conclusions after a number of visits and interviews with staff and some senior management personnel, suggest that they in a big crisis.

Worse among these is the battle between the National Commission on Culture and the Ministry of Chieftaincy for control of the Board's functions.

The challenges and difficulties being faced by the board is preventing them from effectively carrying out their mandate and also promoting the country's cultural heritage.

A visit to the premises of the National Museum in Accra confirmed the low patronage of the place, lack of publicity on its activities, shortage of manpower and fundamentally a lack of financial assistance.

These are all staring in the face of hapless members of the Board. Established in 1957, the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board was to preserve Ghana's heritage and those of other African countries.

According to the Head of Public Relations of the Board Mr. Opoku Acheampong, they are facing serious financial and resource problems. He told the dailyEXPRESS that budget allocations and financial assistance over the years have been insufficient to successfully run and manage the body.

Apart from the small budget together with limited logistics, the Board lacks adequately qualified professionals to manage the various monuments and historical sites in Ghana. He noted that in the last couple of years the Board has lost several of its key personnel to other institutions because f the unattractive nature of their conditions of service.

The Board is also facing an acute shortage of conservators for the management, upkeep and preservation of the numerous monuments and artifacts that Ghana possesses.

Long procedures Mr. Acheampong noted are also affecting their smooth operations. There's also an existing turf battle between the Ministry of Culture and Chieftaincy Affairs and Commission on culture over who actually plays the supervisory role over the GMMB.

Mr. Opoku Acheampong says there is the need to clearly distinguish between the specific roles each institution has to play in promoting Ghana's culture.

The Head of PR pointed out that government is fully aware of the difficulties the body is facing but has just neglected them. Despite the difficulties however the Board still tries to organize programmes especially for school children to inform them about the essence of Ghana's culture.

He therefore called on the government and other coporate bodies to pay more attention to the country's tangible and intangible cultural heritage.