C o m m o n w e a l t h
A s s o c i a t i o n o f
M u s e u m s
CAM Bulletin Number 2 - Feb. 1996
Project 3000: Nigerian Children and the "Valleys of the Niger" Exhibition
Project 3000 was about children and their place and role in museums in Nigeria It focused on the international exhibition Valleys of the Niger to reach out to Nigerian children to interest them in the museum exhibition, to sensitize them about its relevance and, through the objects on display, to introduce them to the history, the culture and the heritage of the people and the countries of the Niger River Basin.
The exhibition was co-ordinated by Samuel Sidibé, Director of the National Museum of Mali. All of the objects were selected from West Africa and the exhibition took place in Burkino Faso, Niger, Mali, Guinea, Mauritania and Nigeria It was sponsored by the ELF Foundation and the World Bank and was on view from December to March 1996 at the National Museum in Lagos.
Project 3000 was a programme supported by ICCROM-PREMA to encourage visitation to the exhibition and took place in Nigeria from Feb. 27 to Mar. 27. It has created a new momentum in developing a museum-going culture inthe schools of Lagos and surrounding states as the exhibition attracted visits from large numbers of schools and children - about 135 schools and over 10,000 children. Its programme included conducting surveys and research on the children visiting the exhibition, encouraging them to come on educational visits to the exhibition and promoting essay and poster competitions among the schools and children. The project will produce a video on the various activities by the children during the exhibition period. This comprehensive programme was intended to attract children to appreciate the excitement and meaning found in visiting the museum regularly especially when important exhibitions like the Valleys of the Niger are on view.
The underlying objective was the importance of giving children the intellectual, emotional and material means, and to create the environment needed to empower them to appreciate the richness of their inheritance and the need for its protection and survival. Children, an often neglected but special audience, have a positive contribution to make to our collective humanity and should be given a chance to express themselves in the museum. Project 3000 has stimulated this goal. In order to develop creativity and to provide for an effective cultural environment outside the home and the school, it is hoped to establish a Children's Museum in Nigeria which will challenge our children to use their creative energies in a positive way. Such a museum will serve as a place where things produced by and for children will be housed, studied and exhibited. It will also be as historic tribute to Nigerian children and their brothers and sisters around the world.
Emmanuel N. Arinze
Co ordinator, Project 3000
The Commonwealth Association of Museums is planning to build on the theme of this activity by holding a workshop on Children and Museums in Africa during 1997. Watch for further announcements.