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 7 - Nov. 2001
Museums & Peace #1
In May 1999, CAM held its Triennial Program: Museums, Peace, Democracy and Governance in the 21st Century in Barbados hosted by the Barbados Museum & Historical Society. The result was the Bridgetown Declaration on Museums & Peace which set a framework for future action for CAM. While recognizing the limitations of funding and consequently the difficulties of proceeding quickly, there has been some progress towards the development of peace projects in line with the declaration. The events of September 11 have simply underscored the enormous importance of paying greater attention to peace matters and the truly universal nature of this topic.
Art Exhibition: What Peace Means to Me?"
Entries close February 15, 2002.
CAM has launched a children's art contest "What Peace Means to Me?" A selection of the entries will be chosen for an exhibition to travel in Commonwealth countries particularly those who held contests in their countries. The first phase was initiated rapidly so that we would be able to begin the process at the Nairobi workshop The Friendly Museum; Managing Children's Programmes in African Museums. We extended the time to November 15 and have received more entries from other locations.
It has become evident that there are many circumstances which limit participation in such contests including school holidays, exams, availability of materials and schedules of the host museums. Our method of the dissemination of information through e mail has also revealed a number of problems.
For all of the above reasons and because we have not been able to plan the meeting of the Commonwealth Selection Committee to adjudicate the entries, the contest will remain open until February 15. Separate information sheets are included in this mailing as well as the ad announcement in the Bulletin.
Peace Museum, Bradford, England
The Secretary General had an opportunity to visit the Peace Museum in Bradford, England in July. The objectives of the visit were to explore the possibilities of working together on museums and peace initiatives and to see what the museum was all about. Peter Nias and Chris Nias, respectively the museum's Development Officer and Education Officer kindly explained what the Peace Museum was, its history and mandate, and outlined the current program.
It is the only Peace Museum in the United Kingdom and has been established since 1994. Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, is the Patron. Besides Peter and Chris Nias, there is also a Curator who is an historian. A Management Committee oversees the activity of the Museum. Two of its members, Rev. Clive Barrett, the Chairman and an Anglican clergyman, and Dr. Peter van den Dungen, Professor from the Peace Studies Dept. at the University of Bradford met with us and we explored the alternatives for collaboration in future. These appear to be excellent although neither CAM nor the Peace Museum is able to commit to specifics at present. The Peace Museum is a charitable trust and they have a Board of Trustees which has some overlapping members with the Management Committee. The museum is a member of the Museums Association (UK).
The Peace Museum has a firm plan for developing a permanent home in Bradford. Tenders have been called from developers for a specific site to build an International Peace Centre. The objective is for the Peace Museum to administer the Centre as part of their revenue base.
There is a small exhibition gallery now that is located on the third floor of rented premises and is worth a visit. The museum does some educational programming for schools, including conflict resolution and team building for children as well as workshops for teachers. A traveling exhibition has been organized and another one on the Nobel Peace Prize is now available for loan. Their philosophy has been an emphasis on outreach more than in-house activity because of their situation, but they also feel that their work will continue to focus on outreach into the community because of the importance of peace and its integration into communities. The museum has a collection of about 3000 items.
In line with that philosophy, the museum feels it has a role in local, national and international spheres with its activities and needs to address the "peacefulness" of relationships on three levels: personal, community and international.
Unfortunately, the city of Bradford was not peaceful at the time of the visit. The racial tensions and riots were of great concern to the people I met at the Peace Museum and others who have worked so hard to maintain mutual understanding and friendship in a very culturally diverse city. This situation appeared to have been politically motivated by those with a vested interest in such conflict but it serves to highlight the need for continuous peace efforts and the great fragility of harmony.