The Sunday News
Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday Life Reporter
ZIMBABWE joined the rest of the world in celebrating International Museums Day, with a virtual conference put together by British Council and the International Council of Museums on Monday shining the light on life for museums during the Covid-19 which has closed so many of their doors.
This year’s International Museums Day ran under the theme, Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion, with the focus on promoting diversity and inclusion in museums.
As part of this year’s online conference, the Acting Executive Director and Chief Curator of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Raphael Chikukwa, moderated a panel under the theme, How should Museums respond to Diversity in the COVID World?. Chikukwa was joined by Dr. Errol Francis, Chief Executive of Culture& (UK), and Thanh Sinden of Museum Detox (UK).
During the discussion, the need to protect museum workers from Covid-19 came under the spotlight, with Oxford’s Dr Francis also pointing out the lack of racial diversity in those staffing museums around the globe.
“Francis pointed out that the Museum sector has an opportunity to protect its workers and the Public, by playing a role in Public Health Education. Aside from that, the fact that most of Museum Staff is White and Male, signified the lack of diversity in the Museum World,” the National Gallery of Zimbabwe said in its appraisal of the discussion.
The need to repatriate objects lost to the plunder of imperialism and war was also discussed.
Kataoki Mami, Director of the Mori Art Museum (JAP) made a presentation of her institution’s virtual reality and 3D interface to which audiences receive guided tours and openly questioned whether it will be business as usual for galleries in a post Covid-19 world, or virtual tours would become the future of these institutions.