Zainab Musa Shallangwa is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, University of Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria and is writing her Ph.D. on Effects of Displacement on the Cultural Heritage of Internally Displaced Persons of Borno State, Northeast Nigeria.
Museums and the question of relevance in contemporary Nigeria
Over the years, the roles museums play has transcended preserving cultural heritage for posterity to include improving the societies they serve through addressing contemporary issues within the communities they are located. However, whether this role is adequately being fulfilled in contemporary Nigeria in the face of constant competition with other leisure organizations in sectors such as sports, the entertainment and the internet, especially among the youth audiences. Globally, museums have come up with diverse strategies to keep them relevant especially by utilizing the advantages that the internet brings. In this paper, the focus is to gain an understanding into the ways museum managers and staff in Borno State, Nigeria are negotiating this challenge of relevance, and whether or not they are aware of and have the manpower/facilities to deploy current trends like the internet in fulfilling their mandate. The study will employ qualitative research methodology using interviews and review of documented records. The findings of this paper will bring to limelight the experiences of museum managers and staff in their effort to maintain a robust and holistic audience base, whether this has been successful and may as well recommend other ways of navigating the challenge. It is hoped that the outcome will be of relevance to the museum managers and staff and the communities they serve vis-à-vis the broad question of sustainability.