ASIMI Jimoh Elebiyo

Department of Museums,

National Museum Lokoja, Nigeria.


The Museum is an Institution dedicated to preserving and interpreting the cultural and national heritage of humanity. Museums have been founded for a variety of purposes: to serve as recreational facilities, scholarly avenue, educational resources, to contribute to the quality of life of the areas where they are situated, to attract tourism to a particular region, to promote civic pride or nationalistic endevours; or even to transmit overtly ideological concepts. Given such a variety of purposes, museums reveal remarkable diversity in form, content and even function. Despite such diversity, they are bound by a common goal: the preservation and interpretation of society’s cultural and natural heritage.The museum holds in trust the irreplaceable treasures and heirlooms represently the collective heritage, the soul and identity of a nation. A museum therefore is an organized and permanent non-profit making institution, essentially educational or aesthetic in purpose, with professional staff which owns and utilizes tangible objects, cares for them and exhibits them to the public or some regular schedule, hence relevant to the development of the entire country.


Nigeria is a country with varieties of cultural, natural, tangible and intangible heritage and human resources. All communities in Nigeria are endowed with these resources in one form or the other which could be assessed to improve the livelihood of the people, generate income, and provide skills, entrepreneurship and employment, while many countries have developed their heritage resources for economic benefit, thereby contributing greatly to national revenues but in Nigeria the exploration of oil, mining activities and other allied industries have shifted the focus away from heritage.1

Although, many institutions were established to promote heritage but its management has not been given the required attention due to lack of adequate funding and other processes.

In view of dwindling resources and the need to refocus the economy in order to ensure sustainability, it becomes imperative to engage other stakeholders and partners in the management of heritage. This new initiative therefore should be the prerogative of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments. In accordance with the mandate and the recourse to open a new vista of operation, the Commission must explore the opportunities of being the oldest parastatal in the cultural sector and its visibility across Nigeria. Sustainable economics development is the clarion call all over the world while benefits beyond borders are key vectors of this development and social cohesion among stakeholders and shareholders. It is therefore important for the Museums to explore the new frontiers to make it relevant for today and the future.2


Museums as a factor in National Development is a concept that has an ivory tower touch which sounds elegant and very professional. This topic was borne out of the recognition of the role the Museum plays in the cultural, scientific, social, economic and technological development of many Nations both developed and underdeveloped.

Throughout the world, Museums have been used as instrument to intensify communion and understanding among people.

The purpose of this focus is based on our conviction that through this means, we will be creating public awareness of one of the tourist potentials of Nigeria. It is also my intention to high-light the role of Museums in nation building. Further more, to elucidate on why our cultural heritage should be preserved and protected. At this juncture, it is academically imperative to define the key words “Museums and Developments”.

Museum is a permanent non profit making institution at the service of the community and its development, open to the public which collects the material evidence of man and his environments conserves it, does research into it, and provides information on it for purpose of study, education and pleasure (N.J.N. VahSpandouk p.16).3

Further to the acceptance of this definition at international level by the ICOM, the body also recognized that the following comply with the above definition:-

(a)        National, archa-cological and ethnographic monuments and sites of a Museum nature for their acquisition, conservation and communication activities.      

(b)        Conservation institutes and exhibition galleries permanently maintained by libraries and archival centre.

(c)        Institute displaying live specimen such as botanic and zoological gardens, aquaria vivra etc.

(d)        Science centre planetaria and nature reserves; furthermore, the definition specifies the functions of a Museum in the National development.

Development is a process of economic and socio-cultural advancement which enables people to realize their potentials, build self-confidence and lead lives of dignity and fulfillment. It is a process which if sincerely implemented, frees people from evils of wants, ignorance, squalor and exploitation. In general, it is a movement away from economic, social or political injustice and oppression.4

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