The Minister of State for Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiques, Martin Mugarra, has urged Ugandans to establish more private and community museums as a means of preserving the country’s heritage and promoting tourism.

He made the call as the country prepares to celebrate International Museum Day on May 18th under the theme, “Museums Shaping Knowledge for the Future.”

Mugarra said that museums are dynamic learning institutions that foster learning, discovery, and cultural understanding. He adds that the Museums play a pivotal role in transforming society. He added that they are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment, mutual understanding, cooperation, and peace among peoples.

Jackiline Nyiracyiza, the Acting Commissioner for Museums, revealed that the number of visitors to the Uganda National Museum has been increasing every financial year. “In 2022, we had 67,000 visitors; in 2023, we reached 131,000, and this year, from July last year to date as of 30th March 2024, we are at 117,000,” she stated.

Nyiracyiza also said the national museums are not competing with private and community ones, but rather regulating them and ensuring that they live up to the set standards as provided for in the Museums and Monuments Act 2023. 

Lilly Ajarova, the CEO of the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), said that although UTB is mandated to market tourism, there is a need for collective efforts, revealing that there are plans to internationally expose Uganda’s artifacts while working with the ministry and other museums world over.

Uganda has several private museums across the country, and the Government aided National Museum.

Museum operators have in the past appealed to the Government for funding to the sector.  They argue that every region of Uganda has a lot of historical sights and history that the government needs to invest in to allow for its expansion and that adequate funding would ensure proper standards and regulatory framework which is missing to make operations of the museums lucrative to the country.

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