20.05.2005 Regional News

Use Museums to promote peace

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Accra, May 20, GNA - Dr. Kodzo Gavua, a Lecturer at the University of Ghana, on Friday called on the United Nations, African Union and regional bodies to use museums as medium for promoting global peace, harmony and understanding.

"The advancement of peace by Ghanaian museums is particularly relevant today in view of the increasing failure of militarism and political dialogue as the panacea for conflict resolution among nations and peoples," Dr Gavua stated at a public forum organized in Accra. The forum, organized by the Ghana National Museums and Monuments Board (GNMMB) was on the theme, "National Museum - An Asset For Development."

It was aimed at using the museums as a source of national inspiration, rebuilding national confidence, pride and solidarity. Dr Gavua said museums created forums that could increase dialogue among peoples of different cultural backgrounds over their ancient and present life with additional insight into their commonalities rather than their differences.

He called for the adoption of Peace Museums Concept, which would serve as a programme to preserve and present a history of peace-making, as exemplified by the Hague Peace Museum, the Peace Museum of Northern Ireland and the Peace Museum of Chicago.

He decried the agenda of archaeologists, ethnographers and museums curators in developing countries, who he said have focused on differences that exist among people, while glossing over their common or shared heritage.

The focus on the commonalities instead of the differences would have reduced inter and intra-ethnic conflict that abound as a result of poor understanding and appreciation of socio-cultural differences within and between groups of people.

For Ghanaians to benefit and value Museums, Dr Gavua suggested to the Ghana National Museums and Monuments Board to institute effective collaboration and coordination at all levels of management to adapt to changes in international museum management.

Dr Gavua challenged the staff to seek and share knowledge, and effectively collaborate with other relevant agencies as well as communities to ensure that the museums became relevant in the global context of changing operations of museums. "Museums operate in the public interests and are not for individuals to amass wealth to the detriment of the nation's cultural heritage".

Nana Kobina Nketsia, Chairman of the GNMMB chaired the forum attended by workers of the museum curators, archaeologists, ethnographers, African-Americans and a cross section of the public.

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