During my reading adventure, I came across a very important topic in public archaeology entitled, “why the past”. Research in this particular area; indicate that, the importance of memory is, and has always been taken for granted, and yet, it is an emotional expression that binds us together and keep history in motion. Collective memories globally shape the reality that enables people to imagine the world in which they live in. And Museums, for this case, are among many places where one kind of represented memory is generated through fascinating collections of our past. It is, therefore, natural and proper thing for each one of us to take pride in knowing our history, its absolute meaning and stories, possessed as heritage or identity. Museum education has become more interesting in enriching and improving on the Materials and information that can, if utilized well, communicates shared memory and identity.
Throughout recorded history, cultural and natural heritages have suffered damage and destruction due to natural disasters like floods, storm, fire and earthquakes or to human induced threats like in times of conflict, wars and riots, building works and sometimes willful damage or neglect. However, even though, in our minds, this destruction has existed throughout human history, now, it indicates a shift in the relationship between societies and the testimonies of their cultures and heritages.
Managing such in the post–conflict society like Rwanda is a difficult task that affects not only personal but also national identity and yet history is the only means that makes sense of our past in the present with that kind of emotional expression that should bind us together and be linked to a place. Heritage management has become vitally relevant for us to live now as we come closer and interact freely with the past. The use of living heritage as an element that triggers heritage consciousness has proved worthwhile in the post-conflict situations where it has really played a unifying role between communities.
Rwanda’s historic buildings and heritage sites represent not only a store of knowledge about our human past but also scores as a major asset for conservation and understanding of nature and education of the same in Rwanda is a timely venture.
There was a time when heritage education was understood as simply guiding visitors through museum exhibitions but over the last few years, the field has evolved and grown in importance. Thanks to a number of initiatives by Rwanda museums.
Despite the risks that haunt our cultural and natural heritage sites across the country, the Institute of National Museums of Rwanda (INMR) nevertheless has made tremendous efforts to provide preservation and education through exhibitions and outreach programs. These communicate and contribute to knowledge that holds humanities deepest values, attitudes and actions towards cultural and natural heritage sustainability.
With well-established museums, INMR alongside other pertinent institutions have taken the necessary measures in restoring a number of historical sites that would eventually make history live to the public by engaging them in the discovery of historical, cultural, and social experiences of the past. Heritage objects are contemplated by those who share the values which are enshrined with them. The goal is to create an illustrated narrative that will convey our past and mirror events of Rwandan society. We have equaled power and responsibility to model and teach our young generations to shape the future.
These unique resources are used and handled with care to become more responsive to dynamics of modern and urban change by retaining their relevance to become positive partners in the development of our societies
I must categorically state that, the best way to preserve our heritage is through continued creativity that draws inspiration from traditions as well as modernity. We need to create awareness of profound cultural and natural heritage that lead to a reconstructed history, creativity and identity. It is through heritage preservation and management that we can only be assured of permanent creativity.
Awareness without action changes nothing. Stand out to be counted as you walk along the path of history. Our heritage must be seen in a holistic perspective that includes multicultural aspects, old and new history, tangible as well as intangible legacies of the past.
Throughout the state, greater efforts are needed to acquire and interpret significant cultural resources, if Rwanda is to safeguard its cultural heritage that presents a truer picture of itself. We must work together to acquire, protect and interpret many more of our prehistoric, ethnographic, and post-historic places. The cultural memory recollection is core to this noble cause. These efforts are critical in preserving significant remnants of Rwanda’s past.
Cultural Heritage Analyst/Philosophical studies expert
Email: [email protected]