A new museum opens in western region
An entirely new museum on the natural and cultural resources of the Nzema people is to open on the 30th October in the Western Region. The museum is to be housed in the ancient fort Apollonia located at Beyin in the Jomoro District.
COSPE, an Italian NGO, in collaboration with the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Ghana Museums and Monuments Board and Ghana Wildlife Society, have been implementing the “Fort Apollonia” project at Beyin, in the Jomoro District of the western Region over the past two years. The project’s aim is to contribute to the conservation and enhancement of the natural and cultural heritage of the Nzema people. At the core of the action is the realization of an eco-museum in the premises of Fort Apollonia a Fort built by the British in the 18th century and recently restored with funds of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The concept of an eco-museum is being developed by the French George Henri Rivère and Hugues de Varine, who coined the term ‘ecomusèè’ in 1971. The term “èco” is a shortened form for “ècologie”, but it refers especially to a new idea of holistic interpretation of cultural heritage in opposition to the focus on specific items and objects as performed by traditional museums.
It is focused on the identity of a place, based on local participation. Eco-museums are dynamic ways for local people to preserve, interpret, and manage their heritage by constantly communicating with the territory they live in.
Fort Apollonia eco-museum and resource centre, being the first of its type in Ghana, will offer to visitors what Nzema chiefs, students, artisans, drummers and dancers, researchers are putting together to represent what they are and what they do. The collaborative methodology becomes the assumption of the setting of the eco-museum and its importance will be emphasized through the expression of points of view and aesthetics of the local community. The eco-museum will tell the history inherited from past generations will picture the present to bestow for the benefit of future generations. It will be done in such a way that the voice of communities is multi-represented and meets visitors through the experience of sensory learning. Exhibits and furnishing will invite visitors to learn about the Nzema heritage by interacting with contents, topics, and the interpretation of them in a combination of texts reading, objects touching, smelling and hearing. The Fort will be intended not only to heritage display, but also to serve as a conservation education centre for educational activities, arts and crafts production, temporary exhibitions, art performances etc. The museum is therefore intended to be a living museum that will present different facets to the repeat visitor.
Visitors will then be ready to experience and fully appreciate the surrounding territory where naturalistic and historical trails have been developed to deepen the knowledge of what has been familiarized in the museum. Trails and activities that radiate around the well-known village of zulezo can be chosen and combined according to availability of time and individual interest, but it will be possible to link in the same trail different aspects of the natural and cultural heritage, including socio-economic activities, traditional ways of life, festivals, arts as is exhibited on the Ebonica adventure trail on water, and soon on the Bakanta trail as well.
The eco-museum in Fort Apollonia is being executed with local artisans, the ASSI sector of NACA (Nzema Art & Crafts Association), using local materials and symbols to enable it is in harmony with the Amansuri environment where it is located and has been recognized as an area of high biodiversity. Besides that Ghana Wildlife Society, the primary stakeholders on the project include the Ghana Tourist Board. Centre for National Culture, Jomoro and Ellembele District Assemblies. Western and Eastern Nzema Traditional Councils, as well as the SNV (Netherlands Development Organisation).
Daily Graphic Page: 46 Monday, October 25, 2010