Namibia has an assortment of different kinds of museums such as, railway, historical, independence memorial and science museums. And soon the country will bring forth the first musical museum.
All over the world, international countries have built musical museums that exhibit musical instruments that date back as far as 1877. Belgium, United States of America and the United Kingdom are among some of the countries that exhibit and have rare, antique musical pieces from musical artists from these respective countries.
Namibia’s music industry is incredibly vast and the establishment of a musical museum will raise the standard.
It will not only showcase music genres, cultures and instruments but will also create a space for musical creatives to celebrate their great talents whether past, present or that of the future.
The musical museum will also complement the transient cultural festivals which are organised by Directorate of Culture within the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture.
The museum will provide an important focal point for safeguarding musical traditions in Namibia and showcase both traditional Namibian music and the diverse contemporary forms on Namibian music.
In an interview with The Lounge Museums Association of Namibia, Manager, Ndapewoshali Ashipala noted that music plays a crucial role in the countries society as lyrics, rhythms and dances encapsulate community identity and social values.
“Traditional music and dance is one of the most common way in which communities express their culture and through which visitors can experience Namibian culture” said Ashipala.
She further explained that there is no place in Namibia that serves as a musical hub which provides a permanent exhibition and forum for intercultural dialogue and learning for Namibians.
Ashipala highlighted that the development of the museum is one of four components of the Museum Development as a Tool for Strengthening Cultural Rights in Namibia project which is funded by the European Union that will also provide 237,025.00 Euros over a two-year period to support activities being carried out by the Museums Association of Namibia to support regional museum development.
The four components include the Museum of Namibia Music that will be based in Omuthiya, in northern Namibia in a building donated by the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture which was initially meant to be a gallery but has remained unoccupied.
The Museums Association of Namibia tries to decentralize its projects as most activities happen in Windhoek. Omuthiya was a perfect choice of location as described by Ashipala because there has not been much happening in the area.
“Our main aim is regional development, we try to go into various regions to try and develop the community and bring in a source of income” she said.
The second component will be developed in Katima Mulilo and be known at the Zambezi museum which will focus on the links between the environmental resources of the region and the cultural rights of local communities.
The Museums Association of Namibia during the project period will also develop two exhibitions publications based on San and Ondonga History and Culture which will be the third and fourth components of the project. This will be produced in collaboration with Nakambale Museum at Olukonda.
In the same breath it is currently also seeking for stories, information, objects such as musical instruments (old and modern), vinyl, CDs, DVDs, cassettes and tapes, photographs, sound and video recordings, apparel and music/musician related merchandise from the public that can be place in the museum.
Ideas are also welcomed as this will ensure a maximum level of participation from different communities throughout Namibia.
In addition Ashipala added that with further development, the Museums Association of Namibia also aims for the musical museum to be a venue for musical performances, conferences and workshops and perhaps with time, music classes.
“There is no limit on the growth and development of the museum and all the components of the museum, we plan to have the museum get bigger and better with time” she said.
It is scheduled to open towards the end of 2019. An entrance fee is yet to be determined.