A comparative study of the National Cultural History Museum, Pretoria (S. Africa) and KNUST Museum, Kumasi

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July, 2008
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The quest of the researcher to help upgrade the KNUST Museum to a world – class standard museum, urged the researcher to embark on the study of a series of previously researched topics on museums. The researcher through the study identified many world-class standard museums, but out of the lot, the National Cultural History Museum, Pretoria, was chosen to serve as a yard stick, by which the KNUST Museum was compared. The comparative study was to unearth the short-comings of the KNUST Museum and if the suggestions and recommendations by the researcher are adopted, they will help upgrade the KNUST museum to a world-class standard museum. The researcher delved into the areas of the scope and activities of the National Cultural History Museum, Pretoria and KNUST Museum in disciplines such as; education, research, and extracts of the policies of the two museums. In addition the researcher also studied the mode of acquiring collections, documentation, collections management, exhibitions and displays, storage, logistics and funding of the two museums.The researcher employed the qualitative method for research approach; case study historical, descriptive, and observer- participant. The instruments used for data collection were questionnaire, validated interview and questionnaire.The researcher’s primary source of information was that of observation participation due to the fact that, the researcher was engaged at NCHM during the research period in Pretoria, and as a volunteer prior at KNUST Museum. The secondary source of information was accessed at, NCHM’s library, Balme library, Museums and Monuments Board’s archives. National Archives, University library - KNUST, Ashanti library, Museums Association (UK) journals, publications and internet sources.The research found out the following shortcomings in the KNUST Museum: the KNUST has no documented policies on collections, education, research, etc. There is a shortfall in the scope and activities of KNUSTM in terms of educational programs, research and funding. Mode of operation was also identified as a challenge such as trained staff for the KNUSTM; there are no curators for the various collection disciplines, educators, documentation staff, and janitorial staff. Improper documentations on collections was noticed, inappropriate showcases and mode of display, improper facilities for storage, inadequate collections, etc. There are no shops, cafeteria, exhibition and conference halls to generate internal funds, as existing in other world class standard museums. KNUSTM has low level of publicity in the print and electronic media. KNUSTM has inadequate logistics and it has no collaboration with international organisations. The researcher recommends that the KNUSTM should formulate policies, improve upon the mode of operation, scope and activities of the KNUSTM to conform to international standards i.e. ICOM.
A Thesis Submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Art in African Art