Preserving what could be history tomorrow

The power of culture and heritage has long been undervalued and yet these two seem to be basic needs. Culture is a powerful human tool for survival, but in a fragile phenomenon, it is constantly changing and easily lost because it exists only in our minds.
David Nkusi
David Nkusi

The power of culture and heritage has long been undervalued and yet these two seem to be basic needs. Culture is a powerful human tool for survival, but in a fragile phenomenon, it is constantly changing and easily lost because it exists only in our minds.

The way we remember our past is an important aspect of our identity, and it is through this kind of shared history that brings in a sense of belonging in the post genocide era.

Cultural memory is key to identity that absolute meaning to stories possessed as Rwandan heritage, as represented by artifacts (objects) from the past.

The examination of this trend questions the packaging of history that serves only to distance people from their own heritage, as Kevin Walsh puts it in the Scotland’s heritage, 1989 that; “a superficial, unquestioning portrayal of the past, separates us from an understanding of our own cultural and political present one feels” and to this, a number of ways Rwanda museums can fulfill its potential by facilitating our comprehension of cultural identity through the national project that places regional museums in different provinces of Rwanda for the purpose of promoting cultural heritage and increasing regional tourism.

This is an investment of major importance for every Rwandan to visit and feel a sense of belonging to various museums across the country.

These include; the Ethnographic museum in Huye, the Kings Palace and the National Art Gallery/Museums in Nyanza, the Natural History Museum in Kigali and the Presidential Palace Museum at Kanombe, plus many more memorial sites across the country to mention but a few.

Museology seeks to understand and develop proficient exhibits which engage the audience by way of looking at the past and truly grasping techniques and displays that are productive.

The museum and heritage industry has expanded and has marked increase in public interest in our historic environment. There is this new fleeting experience of life in the modern urban world that demands the past to be held onto but with all processes of modernisation, the past become something which emerged as yet another form of institutionalised discourse, often articulated through the museums.

It is natural and proper thing for each one of us to take pride in our national identity and the achievements of our native country, but we should do so in a spirit that gives us full recognition of our dignity of the past.

Museums are one of the many places where one kind of represented memory is generated. Museums preserve history by collecting and displaying objects both from the past and the present.

They preserve both personal and collective memory. The history often told in museums portrays the heroic image of the country through educational role in shaping how the public understands and appreciates cultures and beyond.

The traditional role of museums is to collect objects and materials of cultural, religious and historical importance, preserve them, research into them and present them to the public for purposes of education and enjoyment.

Museums posses materials and information that can and should be used in enriching and improving on the school curriculum in various disciplines.

What is important is for educational planners to work closely with museum experts on how the educational resources that are available in the museum can be integrated into the curriculum and the learning process at all levels.

A part from our museums showing leadership in the promotion of heritage and custodians of cultural soul of the nation, there is more to do with language.

Language is arguably the most important component of culture because much of the rest is normally transmitted orally.

It is impossible to understand the subtle nuances and deep meanings of another culture without knowing its language well. This actually influences our culture and the thought process as well.

We must embrace our native language if we are to reveal the degree of civilisation and morality of our country.

Now, for Rwanda to have this continued cultural memory and heritage, we must avoid violence and conflicts in the country.

In the process of conflict transformation and peace building, the presence of political participation, social integration and economic development are all important in building up a society or a nation during or after conflict.

Violence/disasters endanger identity, community cohesion and cultural heritage. And when cultural heritage is destroyed, people suffer fundamental loss that is not sufficiently recognised.

Hence, let’s discover our museums and cherish our heritage, learn more of our native language if we are to live a psychological survival of the past in emergency situations, for history is a reasoned reconstruction of the past rooted in research.

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