Dear President Museveni,
RE: Proposed construction of a Trade Centre on the Uganda Museum grounds
The World Archaeological Congress has been recently informed about the planned demolition of the Uganda Museum to build a 60-storied Trade Center. The museum was founded in 1908 as the custodian of Uganda Heritage. The museum building itself should be seen as a national monument that should be preserved.
The World Archaeological Congress is concerned that this demolition will impact on the 102–]year history of one of the oldest cultural institutions in Uganda and the oldest in Eastern Africa, which has been serving as an education and research centre for a century. The Museum displays Uganda’s Indigenous culture, archaeology, history, science, and natural history, with unique visual and material samples of Ugandafs multicultural past. While WAC has been informed that a two–]storey section of the trade centre will be given to the Museum, there is no further information on the capacity of this new building to display the current collections, or on how the relocation will be conducted, where and in what conditions would the collections and libraries be stored during the construction of the new trade centre, the impact of these relocation on the preservation of the collections or, more importantly, about the social and cultural impact of closing this national Museum to the public.
The World Archaeological Congress has also been informed that the relocation of the collections could cause displacement and damage, as there is a need for the detailed labelling and registration of some material.
We urge the Ugandan government to re–]evaluate the impact of such development in the life, culture and heritage of their country, and we encourage the government to find an alternative location for the new building, while keeping the current Museum in its current location.
Thank you for considering this request.
Professor Claire Smith, President