THE world celebrates World Tourism Day today. It should be recognised and supported by the Government as one of the ways to boost local tourism. Its theme this year is, Tourism – Linking Cultures, community initiatives to preserve and promote Uganda’s cultural heritage.
The World Tourism Day provides an opportunity for countries to reflect on their challenges and potential in the tourism sector and to showcase tourism potential.
Community museums are initiatives by rural and urban communities, organizations, families and individuals motivated by an undying desire to preserve and promote Uganda’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage.
Their role ranges from educational facilities, platforms for dialogue, space of memory and ethnic common identity, to areas of resistance against foreign cultural oppressions or venues for economically and environmentally sustainable activities for local communities. They are also important reference points for the diversity ofUganda’s cultures.
Community museums are becoming platforms for expressing living communities’ feelings and expectations especially with the disappearance of cultural and spiritual spaces due to foreign religions.
They are becoming living spaces and forums for dialogue and free expression that also offer opportunities for recreating the ‘better past’. However, community museums are little known, less visited and regarded as quite peripheral among the Government priorities. There is no national policy to guide operations of private collectors or community museums.
Community museums have a potential for economic transformation of the communities where they are located.
Recognising and appreciating the contribution that community museums make towards national development, they deserve support from the Government programmes.
They are now registered under Uganda Community Museums Association (UCOMA) by the National NGO Board.
The Government should be kind enough to support community museums as a way of boosting domestic tourism on one hand, and on the other hand to improve the social economic situation of the communities where community museums are located.