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Sierra Leone’s National Heritage

Sierra Leone’s National Heritage

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The definition of museum is from Ancient Greek, Mouseoin, which means that “the spot sacred toward muses.” According to Greek Mythology Mouseoin ended up being the temple of muses, the nine goddesses that presided over poetry, tracks, the arts, sciences and discovering. In Greek Mythology the nine goddesses had been the daughters of Zeus, the King of gods and Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory. The Greeks believed that the muses lived on Mount Olympus due to their leader, the god Apollo (American Association of Museums, 2000). In the third century B.C. through the guideline of Ptolemy Dynasty, as soon as the Greeks ruled over Ancient Egypt, Ptolemy 1 Soter founded an institution for literary and study in Alexandria and labeled as it a museum. Because of the revival of learning through the Renaissance inside fifteenth century A.D. Italian scholars held their collections of historic materials in spaces called galleries. The Renaissance nobles in addition had adorned their palaces with art, sculpture and collections of curiosities. It had been a great deal later on that personal collections passed to public ownership and had been apply screen. For example Pope Sixtus IV opened the Capitoline Museum toward public in 1447 and also this ended up being followed closely by Cesarini in addition in Rome. The first museum to be operated as a national institution ended up being the Uk Museum in 1753 followed closely by the Palace of Louvre in Paris in 1793.Other famous galleries will be the memorial in which the Mona Lisa is portrayed, the Metropolitan in ny, the Prado in Madrid, the Hermitage in Petersburg (Leningrad), while the Smithsonian in Washington (Sears, 2006).


‘There is always one thing brand-new from Africa’ reported Pliny who lived from 23-79 A.D. This vast continent of Africa has many many firsts. The north of Africa is known to be the cradle of civilization that’s Ancient Egypt. It had been in Ancient Egypt the first museum had become. More south are almost impassible obstacles of desert and tropical forests, and beyond these, lies the greater part of Africa known to the Arabs as Bilad-as-Sudan, the land of Ebony men and women. It had been within part of Africa inside Rift Valley in East Africa also known as Eastern Sudan the earliest form of human life ended up being discovered. The Western Sudan (western Africa) can feature effective ancient empires like Ghana, Songhai, Mali and Kanem Bornu.

Sierra Leone too has actually a rather wealthy and diverse heritage. She has an abundant normal life; the woman archaeological websites date back once again to the Old rock Age in Africa. Oral practices date back once again to the full time as soon as the ancestors of current residents satisfied in their particular places. There is certainly a good diversity of various key societies due to their connected cultural materials including the Poro, Bondo, Gbagbani, Kofo, Regbainlay and Mathoma Secret Societies. There’s also the old standard crafts and arts monuments and relics which commemorate men and women and events sometime ago. This heritage has-been built upon over the years by the works of sculptors, architects, painters, musicians, blacksmiths, goldsmiths also designers of type and beauty. To 1957 Sierra Leone had no museum. The Monument and Relics Commission of first Summer 1947 provided the basis the security and conservation of ancient, historic and normal monuments, relics also items of archaeological, ethnographical (standard Art ) and historic or any other clinical interest as laid down by the Act. These historic relics had been spread everywhere collecting dirt and mould in government ware homes, while the woman ethnographical treasures had been being damaged by climate wood-boring insects. In 1954, Sir Robert de Zouche Hall, a former governor-general challenged the Sierra Leone Society to produce a National Museum the country. This museum, based on the Governor, can subscribe to the development of national pride by collecting and preserving items and making them readily available for contemplation and study. This challenge ended up being taken up by M.C.F. Easmon as well as others using the formation of a Museum Sub-Committee (Cummings, 1996). The Old Cotton Tree Railway facility ended up being obtained and rehabilitated, with government, and ended up being opened on 10th December, 1957. The National Museum, relating to Sir Maurice Dorman, ended up being designed to collect, place in order and protect the job of man’s arms that was quickly vanishing through the lives of Sierra Leoneans. The National Museum, he included, ‘should be a location where in actuality the illiterate guy may be encouraged by the screen of understanding finest in his tradition, both in yesteryear and present, there-by maintaining an archive of Sierra Leone for posterity.’


The Sierra Leone National Museum addresses three places: Archaeology, background and Ethnography. In the region of Archaeology there are big steatite (soapstone) heads, the Maye Yafe or Chiefs’ devils. They are believed to bring good-luck to Chiefs and bad luck toward typical guy. You can find figures called Nomoli, which are an enigma and generally are of unknown antiquity. The curator feels these figures date back once again to the center rock Age. There is certainly a large collection of poetry and potsherds and it is believed that some of the pots on screen inside museum day back once again to B.C. times. There’s also an abundance of Old rock Age resources such as choppers, hand axes, and polished New rock Age resources and many steatite annoyed stones of as soon as made use of as currency so that as looking stick weights. In the record location the most prominent product could be the original Charter of Sierra Leone signed in 1799 by King George III by which the settlement became a British Colony. There’s also types of the de Reuter rock where the Admiral engraved his name after sacking Bunce and Tasso Islands in 1664. Bunce Island ended up being a depot from in which slaves had been transported across the Atlantic Ocean. You can find effigies of late Sir Milton Margai, the first Prime Minister of Sierra Leone and Bai Bureh, the last warrior chief who fought the Uk from 1898-1902. There’s also many materials attracted through the colonial duration such as canon, staffs of chiefs, swords, medals, coins, photographs, paintings and papers. In the region of Ethnography (Traditional Art) there are completely clothed masquerading dancers e.g. Sowei of Bondo Society, Goboi, the regalia of Chiefs, Secret Society paraphernalia, exquisite carved masks, carvings in human and animal type, native musical tools like the drums which are vital in African rituals in delivery, initiation and death, textile, basketry also crafts. The Sierra Leone National Museum has actually an impressive collection of items and is really a shop household of country’s cultural treasures (Sierra Leone National Museum Prospectus, 2013).


The Sierra Leone National Museum preserves the national heritage; its a complex institution for study, knowledge and tradition. It is a guitar of size knowledge, which attracts the requirements of literates and illiterates, both young and old. Kids of school going age comprise the greatest public served by the National Museum through guided trips. Besides school groups individual kiddies look at the museum every single day. The museum exhibits are highly relevant to the school syllabi much more in disciplines like record, personal Studies, Agricultural Science and Civics. Thus article and poster tournaments are run by the museum for kids. Since Art is one of normal way of phrase of individuals who can’t review and compose the exhibits inside National Museum are so organized they can talk on their own. The museum is a vital study center. It is study that brings the museum alive and makes it far more than a repository of dead items. As study center the National Museum could be the only devote the country in which some body are able to find these types of historic papers like the Sierra Leone Charter. Thus pupils from both greater and tertiary institutions also scientists (in your area and globally) make substantial using museum product on paper their projects. A number of the subjects widely explored on inside museum will be the origins of St John’s Maroon Church, tourism as instrument of socioeconomic development, standard schools in Sierra Leone during pre-colonial, colonial and contemporary times, interment rites of vital chiefs among different ethnic groups in the country, and mining in pre-colonial Sierra Leone.

The Sierra Leone National Museum isn’t just established for elites while the scholarly neighborhood but also to deliver something the average man or woman. The basic intent behind the museum is always to allow the public to know and value under conditions of screen the items which the institution gathers, preserves and safeguards. Entry toward museum is no-cost because it is not just a national museum but also part of a worldwide agreement (Global Council of Museum) to which the Sierra Leone National Museum is a signatory need. Sierra Leoneans know about the fact that the National Museum forms a fundamental element of the local tradition. The specimens of cultures represented inside museum are currently used and individuals are alert to their presence and functions. The museum though national in addition passions non-national public composed mainly of European, American and Asian nationals, many of these are ignorant of African tradition in general and Sierra Leonean tradition particularly. Paradoxically the museum has actually handled both an educated and quite largely illiterate also educated and completely uninitiated publics. Listed here are a couple of remarks through the Museum’s site visitors Book:

• it really is spectacular, keep writing! (A Nigerian).

• We entered into African mysteries (An Italian).

• quite interesting! Very painful particularly the slaves (An American).

• Many while the most readily useful experience with regional background).

• It goes a long way in preserving our cultural heritage (A Sierra Leonean).

The Sierra Leone National Museum is an exhibition and interaction center. It gives contact with genuine items. It disseminates details about Sierra Leonean Art. Art pieces are by themselves papers which are eloquent. From naturalistic figures held inside museum men and women can find out about the dress of times. A sculptured piece shows more compared to individual portrayed. By way of example a carved warrior or hunter inside museum shows the kind of tool made use of at the time. The museum steers clear of ethnic distribution in the country of the items. It aims at representing versus pointing out neighborhood peculiarities. For example Rhythmic Arts (musical tools), vocations (fishing gear, basketry and pottery), cultural items (insignia of Chiefs and bride-to-be cash), and Women’s Activities (ornaments, combs and cooking utensils)) are portrayed inside museum. This is because both urban and outlying visitors are anxious to see their ways of life reflected inside “Ancestral Residence,” which is the museum. As neighborhood visitors get across the museum they browse attentively for utensils, resources, weapons or familiar faces and generally are usually pleased or often complaint to staff when these are absent. In brief the Museum plays a beneficial part at national and international amounts. It helps the public to appreciate articles illustrating record. As repository of national heritage it can help individuals to get the aspects of their previous and also to acquire brand-new spiritual wealth. The Museum renews in Sierra Leoneans a feeling of owned by an especially civilization and promotes inside the character of national pride and cohesion which are crucial ingredients in nation building.


The Sierra Leone National Museum is a part of a number of professional systems both in the home and offshore. It was a part of Global Council of Museums (ICOM) since 1964. The Museum is also a part of company for Museums, Monuments and Sites in Africa (OMMSA), the cultural arm of then company of African Unity (OAU), presently African Union(AU ). The Museum is represented inside Arts Education Association of Sierra Leone, which in yesteryear organized Art Festivals in schools and universities; it’s also represented inside Public Archives Commission while the Sierra Leone Association of Librarians, Archivists and Information Professionals(SLAALIP).

The Sierra Leone National Museum will continue to enjoy cordial commitment with UNESCO which includes assisted in staff training and offer of gear; the West African Museums Program in Dakar(WAMP),which has actually carried out a number of workshops on preservation and conservation of items. Foreign Missions too have added greatly toward improvement the museum. For example the Federal Republic of Germany in Sierra Leone erected an extension of museum as a bicentenary gift. The French Embassy in Sierra Leone through French Cooperation Technical Department rehabilitated the Old Cotton Tree Museum Building. America of America, through Department of united states of america Ideas Services has on a number of occasions asked the curator to go to the united states which includes resulted to shut links using the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, the Museum of African Art in Washington, Metropolitan Museum in ny while the Museum of modern Art in Chicago. The U S Embassy has also been instrumental inside twinning commitment using the Museum of Coastal background, St. Simons Island, Georgia. Through these links the Museum ended up being provided with the results of Indiana-American research projects, pamphlets, calendars of coming events, posters and future events. The twinning using the Museum of Coastal background, St Simons Island, Georgia, United States Of America has actually generated the investigation of “Trans-Atlantic Linkage-the Sierra Leone while the Gullah/Geechee Connection.” There is a series of change visits between curators while the Great Spring Lecture ended up being delivered at Fort Frederica, St Simon Island in 1995. In the same 12 months a joint event and a symposium occured on “Trans-Atlantic Linkage” in Georgia.


Among the main concerns of Sierra Leone National Museum is how-to fight the theft and illicit exportation of cultural items. The us government of Sierra Leone has actually developed a comprehensive national policy with statutes as included in the Monuments and Relics Ordinance of 1947. The Ordinance offers up the conservation of ancient, historic and normal monuments, relics also items of historic, ethnographical and clinical interest. Anyone who would like to export through the country any ethnographical product must submit it toward National Museum; a license will likely be released that ought to be demonstrated to customs officials on point of departure. If an intended product for exportation has actually cultural, historic or archaeological price it’s going to be retained in the country as part of the national heritage. Anybody found breaking the regulations is liable to unlawful prosecution in provision of Ordinance. If found guilty the individual concerned must spend a fine of 200 weight sterling. In standard of repayment, the individual will provide a prison phrase not exceeding half a year. However, despite the attempts created by the Museum to protect cultural residential property smuggling of items continues. It is troubling to see that in Sierra Leone educated and intelligent individuals purchase, offer and export shielded cultural materials only for the sake of business marketing. What is more Sierra Leone has actually porous boundaries which men and women use to benefit in smuggling cultural materials out of the country with impunity.

More the public service the National Museum plays warrants public expenditure, especially if standards can be preserved. Unfortunately government funds toward museum are meagre and also this presents another challenge the flowing of museum. Often salaries compensated to staff aren’t just discouraging frequently but delayed in repayment. In 2014 for example so much salary backlog ended up being owed staff that staff struck while the museum ceased to operate for a time. Besides the National Museum does not have branches inside provinces but only centered inside money town, Freetown. Staff are limited in quantity and ill-motivated. Hardly will they be involved with ability building due to not enough funds. It has generated massive staff turn-over. Furthermore in the museum just isn’t reliable nation-wide. People notice it as work for school fall outs. Thus young people do not like seeking museology as a career. Also staff cannot begin massive public knowledge on need for the museum in society. Small wonder why school going kiddies form the greatest range visitors to the museum in place of government functionaries and crucial risk holders in the country. Perhaps the line ministry, the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural matters, the Museum is under doesn’t seem to realize its value in nation building. The Ministry concerns its tasks and giving support to the museum just isn’t important. Thus over time of financial stringency the museum is a prone location to swindle funds (Sierra Leone National Museum Prospectus, 2013). If therefore government wishes the National Museum to keep playing an ever increasing part in national development there’s every requirement for government functionaries to give 2nd thought how most readily useful they are able to support it to generally meet this goal. Where difficulties experienced by management are addressed the museum too can really help create the essential foreign exchange along with its conservation of national heritage.

Source by John A Kargbo

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