Do We Need Museums in the Western Grassfields?1

By Fubah, Mathias Alibafi | African Research & Documentation, January 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Do We Need Museums in the Western Grassfields?1


Fubah, Mathias Alibafi, African Research & Documentation


Introduction

This article was provoked by the recent creation of two major state of the art modern museums in the western Grassfields of Cameroon. The two museums in question are the Mankon museum, located at the fon's palace, and the Babungo museum, also located at the Babungo fon's palace. The museums were part of an initiative by an Italian NGO - Centro Orientamento Educativo (COE) - to establish five museums in some regions of Cameroon. The objectives of the initiative were:

- The protection and enhancement of the cultural and artistic heritage in its original setting through the creation of five museums (with the publication of catalogues for the collections) in five different areas, stating with the Cameroon Grassfields, which is the western part of the country where artistic heritage is the richest and where the danger of the disappearance and loss of artistic objects is greatest.

- The training of young people (four in each place) in museum management and in the protection and conservation of cultural objects.

- The promotion of the dynamics of cultural and economic development in the circles involved in the project and in the country as a whole.

- The provision of new employment possibilities for the young people of Cameroon (Notue 2005: 14).

Accordingly, the opportunity to provide technical support and training for the creation of museums in the palaces of selected regions was advertised in 2001. The response was overwhelmingly positive, with almost every kingdom wanting to be given one of the opportunities.2 An estimated two hundred applications were received. Four kingdoms, including Bandjoun, Mankon, Babungo and Baham, were selected on the basis of the following criteria: the presence of a significant artistic heritage; the willingness of the traditional authorities to allow the study and cultural and social enjoyment of the objects of their community's heritage; and the extent to which the community was willing to have a modern museum in parallel with its commitment to make a suitable building available for the project (Notue 2005: 15). It was on this basis that an agreement was signed between the fons/kings of Mankon and Babungo, the Cameroon government and the Italian NGO.

Following the agreement:

- Both fons agreed to pay for and build a museum in a particular area of their palaces.

- Both fons and the NGO leaders agreed that the main aim was to ensure the transmission of the history and culture of the 'fondoms' to the young, who might otherwise continue to migrate to the cities or go abroad and not return.

- The fons also agreed to appoint local men and women as curators, to make new collections, to form databases for the museums, and to have a Swiss expert museologist come to advise them on the display of objects (Rowlands 2008: 150).

Additionally, the head of the Italian NGO agreed to pay for the internal design of the exhibitions, and to provide computers and technical training in curatorship. Four young men and women from each of the two fondoms were appointed to go on a six-month training course conducted by the Swiss museologist in Mbalmayo, on the outskirts of the capital, Yaoundé. Curatorship courses undertaken in the programme included: collection and policy management, documentation and registration of objects and also skills in the creation of a database (Rowlands 2008: 152).

While the response from most of the Grassfields fons to the call by the Italian funded NGO for the creation of the two museums was overwhelmingly positive, public reaction after the completion of the project has lefteveryone wondering if the new museums are actually what the fondoms wanted or better still, a solution to the problem of the protection and enhancement of the artistic and cultural heritage of the fondoms. While a majority of the population of the two fondoms, and by extension, that of the Grassfields, including even the curators and some male elites feel that the museum is not contributing anything towards the development of the fondoms, some seem to be confused, simply arguing that only the two fons know why they fought so hard to get the museums constructed in their palaces. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Do We Need Museums in the Western Grassfields?1
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.