Understanding the role of museums in society

THERE are museums and monuments in almost every part of the world, but only few really know their importance in the society.

It is, therefore, the role of museum education officers to enlighten the public on how a museum in their locality can add value to them.

Museums and monuments are potential sources of financial gains, ranging from entrance fee to the site, guided tours and visits, sales of craft, documents and photographs and the development of craft centres in the communities.

These monuments generate employment opportunities alongside other benefits to the communities like infrastructural development, which include building of access roads, electricity projects, social amenities, schools, healthcare facilities and portable drinking water.

It also helps in poverty reduction and economic empowerment of members of the host communities.

It also aids in cultural awareness and self identity, as this provides for communities to be the focal point in cultural, social and political activities of the museum.

Tourism and eco-tourism development, where tourists travel to natural areas in areas monuments are conserved, thereby, helps improve the social and economic status of the rural dwellers.

Going by these, it is the responsibility of the museum officer to ‘sell’ the benefits of the museum to members of the public.

The museum education officer should, therefore, be adequately trained to educate and entertain museum visitors, in order for them to be able to forge links between visitors and the museum and encourage learning through formal and informal education.

  • Ayodele is Principal Assistant Museum Education Officer, National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Osogbo, Osun State.

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