Afrikaweekend KIT
artikelfotoTanzania, East Africa
Zanzibar House of Wonders Museum
17 Nov 2006 - KIT

New book: The Zanzibar House of Wonders Museum - Self-reliance and partnership: A Case Study in Cultural Development, by A. Sheriff, P. Voogt and M. Luhila
Zanzibar is a small island off the East African coast with a grand history. Its national museum is located in one of the world’s most beautiful buildings, The House of Wonders . Between 2000 and 2005 this 19th-century Sultan’s Palace was converted into a museum to display the history and culture of Zanzibar and the Swahili Coast. Does such a venture need foreign assistance? And if it does, how to circumvent the pitfalls of dependency? This book describes how Zanzibar managed to marry self-reliance and partnership in the development of its new museum .

Since the UNESCO report Our Creative Diversity in 1995, attention to culture and development has risen. One of the needs felt in later years was more documentation of examples of best practice in this field. The development of the Zanzibar House of Wonders Museum can serve as such an example. It has been exemplary in many ways: in its contribution to the safeguarding of Zanzibar ’s heritage, and in its wider scope: its approach to self-reliance and autonomy and in the sustainability of its results. Part of this development has been a training programme, which had a unique character and contributed greatly to the overall results.

Key points
· Provides an interesting case study in culture and development, with lessons to be learned for the future
· Explores the relevance of a museum to the population it serves and to economic development
· Offers a glimpse into Zanzibar ’s extraordinary history and culture
Redactie AS Magazine
About the authors
Prof. Abdul Sheriff was principal curator of the Zanzibar Museums. Paul Voogt is director of Public Programmes of the Tropenmuseum Amsterdam, and Mubiana Luhila is director of the Center for Heritage Development in Africa. The Zanzibar artist John da Silva is among those who provided the illustrations.

Note from the Africaserver Magazine Editors
The Zanzibar House of Wonders was the first building in Zanzibar with electric light and an elevator

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