Every year, not less than 800 million people visit American museums, about 600 million people also visit Chinese museums and they make several billions of dollars from these visits.
Besides the revenue the visit generates for the respective countries, the multiplier effects of it is that the locals also benefit from the tourists who purchase local items, thus increasing their sales and local economy.
Both local and foreign tourism experts have confirmed that Nigeria has more lucrative museums compared to several developed nations, this is due to our rich cultural heritage.
Former secretary general of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, once decried the poor state of the nation’s museums when he found out that almost all the 45 museums across the country are in a bad state and poorly funded. He said at the time, that if the federal government is serious about the diversification of the economy, then they should pay more attention to our museums, make them revenue generating institutions and top priority on their list.
“A lot of people make fortunes from Nigerian artifacts displayed abroad and the unfortunate thing is that nothing is happening at home,” he said.
He implored the federal government to redouble its efforts in reviving the teaching of history in schools and noted that since Independence, Nigeria has been promoting African culture in the continent and in diaspora, adding that museums have a critical role to play in our development as a nation.
“Museums have priceless collections such as Nok terra cotta, Benin Bronze, Ori Olokun, Ife bronze, Igbo Ukwu and the third man made craft-Dufuna Canoe to show the world. The International exhibition-2000 years of Nigerian Art, organised by the museum in London years ago was a huge success because it opened the eyes of the world and Europe to the fact that Nigeria has a rich culture and history. The museums are important because there are different artifacts that represent and tell the story and culture of the Nigerian people as well as promote cultural aspirations.”
In a chat with Leadership Weekend, Omolola Itayemi, a travel writer and online publisher of yourtravelsstarthere, said that museums are the central bank of cultural resources that store several works of arts for posterity. “Museums is the central bank of cultural resources, a collection of memories about man’s way of life, achievements and progress over time.’’
Speaking on the relevance of museums to the present generation, Itayemi said. “No doubt about the fact that the patronage of Nigeria museums is low as not just the youth alone but majority of Nigerians are no longer interested about the past. that Was probably why the government yanked off history from the school curriculum.
“When I was young, I remember my first visit to the museum. My mum took me there and it was an exciting time for me as I stood in awe of some works I saw at the museum.
“Today it is a different story. When you mention museum now, many youths are likely going to look at you like someone from outer space, if not see you as an old school not in tune with present generation. You may be in for a shock as some may even ask you what is museum. On the other hand, mention Shoprite, Domino, Tantalizer, Chinese Restaurant, and other eateries, you will see their faces lighten up with excitement. It is unfortunate that our interest is not in our museums anymore, this generation does not want to tap into the rich history the museum has to offer. The president of Travelogue TV, Ayo Omotoso, observed that museums in developed nations provide the prime function of offering enjoyable and rewarding stimulation for individual minds in their hour of freedom from their daily chores.
“It is not surprising that such museums in Europe and America make millions of euros and dollars yearly, either through admission charges and or sales of books, paintings, pamphlets, souvenirs and so on.“I hope government will take a second look at our museums, make conscious efforts to rejuvenate the museums in the country. The effect of it on the nation is that government revenue will increase, visitors to the country that have special interest in artifacts and museums will increase, the locals will benefit, the value-chain is what I am talking about.’’
List of museums in Nigeria
Museum of Traditional Nigerian Architecture (MOTNA), Opp High Court, Jos, Plateau State
Nana Living Spring Museum, a national museum in Koko, Delta State
National Musem, Igbo-Ukwu, Anambra State
National Museum of Colonial History, Aba
National Museum of Unity, Enugu
National Museum of Unity, Ibadan
National Museum, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State
National Museum, Abeokuta, Ogun State
National Museum, Akure, Ondo State
National Museum, Benin, Edo State
National Museum, Calabar, Cross Rivers State
National Museum, Hong, Adamawa State
National Museum, Ilorin, Kwara State
National Museum, Jalingo, Taraba State
National Museum, Jos, Plateau State
National Museum, Kanta, Argungu, Kebbi State
National Museum, Maiduguri, Borno State
National Museum, Minna, Niger State
National Museum, Nok, Kaduna State
National Museum, Ogbomoso, Oyo State
National Museum, Oron, Akwa Ibom State
National Museum, Osogbo, Osun State
National Museum, Owerri, Imo State
National Museum, Owo, Ondo State
National Museum, Oyo, Oyo State
National Museum, Port Harcourt, Rivers State
National Museum, Sokoto, Sokoto State
National Museum, Uyo, Akwa Ibom
National Museum, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State