One day after an impressive celebration of the International Museum Day, Nigerian professionals from ten national and two university museums convened in Jos to participate in a two-week RE-ORG workshop at the Jos Museum. This activity is the core element of the RE-ORG Nigeria programme, a joint initiative of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, the Ahmadu Bello University and ICCROM, generously funded by the Ambassador’s Funds for Cultural Preservation.
The Jos Museum, the oldest in Nigeria, holds one of the most important collections of the country, with substantial growth in the last thirty years. Out of the 22 000 objects in storage, there are now more than 4000 objects, including an exceptional collection of Nok figures, which are currently overcrowding the storage alleys and require proper storage space. The entire storage department, including the archaeology and ethnography storage sections, documentation, conservation and other support areas, is under study in the reorganization in view of streamlining workflows.
For participants, the challenge is unfolding in a series of actions, from regrouping collections scattered in different rooms, to freeing much-needed storage space currently occupied by excavation tools, display mounts and other non-collection materials. Participants are estimating collections space needs, planning and visualizing the floorplan, and making the required changes to ensure the long-term preservation and access of the collections. The resulting RE-ORG proposal for the storage area has received the agreement of the head of the museum. Participants will now proceed with the implementation phase.
The atmosphere is cheerful and hard working. In support of the participants, the museum documentation team, administrative staff, electricians, carpenters, and security guards are all contributing their skills and knowledge to ensure the success of the project. In addition, the museum exhibition team is preparing a temporary exhibition to celebrate the importance of storage as a resource for research, new display and other educational activities. A mock storage unit will be on display as the exhibit’s focal point.
On next Friday 2 June will be held the final ceremony and the launch of the next phase, led by participants and their project mentors, to apply the RE-ORG method in each one of their museums.
The next encounter and evaluation seminar is planned for early December 2017.