Jean-Damascene Bizimana, Rwanda's Minister of National Unity and Civic Engagement, inaugurated the latest exhibition at the Museum of Environment in Karongi on International Museum Day, May 18. The Museum of the Environment, the first of its kind on the continent, is situated near Lake Kivu in the Western Province. It has two floors dedicated to environmentally-focused topics concerning nature, wildlife, renewable and non-renewable energy sources, and waste management, among other things. Additionally, it features a rooftop garden that focuses on traditional herbal medicine. ALSO READ: New ‘Kwigira’ Museum unveiled in Nyanza The inauguration event was organised by Rwanda Cultural Heritage Academy, RCHA, and held under the theme “The Role of Museums in Sustainable Development.” ALSO READ: How can museums stay relevant? In his remarks, the minister emphasised the need to broaden people’s understanding of culture and heritage. He stated that it went beyond dances and music and touched upon important topics such as how people engage with the environment in their daily lives. “Preserving our cultural heritage not only honors our forefathers, but also ensures a better future for our children. Cultural heritage gives people a sense of identity and serves as a source of inspiration and creativity. Therefore, it is essential that we protect it and pass it on to future generations, which can be done through museums,” he noted. ALSO READ: Why every Rwandan should visit cultural museums Following the inauguration, they joined locals from Bwishyura Sector in Karongi District in Umuganda, clearing debris, repairing, and cleaning up roads that had been ravaged by recent disasters: landslides and floods that mostly hit the northern and western provinces of Rwanda on May 2-3, resulting in the death of over 350 people and displacing thousands others. ALSO READ: Kagame visits disaster-hit citizens, promises quick support Before the event, various activities were organised to celebrate Rwanda’s diverse cultural heritage, mostly engaging young people from the Rwanda Heritage Hub. These activities included workshops, school competitions, and visits to heritage sites such as Ibere rya Bigogwe and Ibuye rya Bigenga. The celebration culminated in a community event with the people of the Bwishyura sector, where they discussed ways to preserve cultural heritage at both the local and individual levels. ALSO READ: Rwanda joins world to mark International Museum Day Robert Masozera, Director General of RCHA, made it a point to remind the role of museums in safeguarding and promoting the diverse cultural expressions within the community. “These institutions collect and disseminate knowledge and information related to cultural heritage, contributing to educational goals and the overall well-being of society, and can be accessed by anyone free of charge,” he added. Rwanda has 8 national museums located in 7 different districts. These include the Ethnographic Museum located in Huye District, the Kings' Palace Museum (Rukari) and the Kwigira Museum in Nyanza District, Kandt House Museum in Nyarugenge District, the Museum for Campaign Against Genocide located in the parliamentary building, in Gasabo District, the Rwanda Art Museum in Kicukiro District, the Museum of Environment in Karongi District and lastly the Rwanda Liberation Museum also known as Umulindi w'Intwari located in Gicumbi District.