… as organisations seek collaboration

BENIN CITY— Ahead of the completion of the Archeological Pavilion of the Museum Of West African Art, Edo (MOWAA) early next year, organisations in the West Africa sub-region are already seeking collaboration with the agency, according to MOWAA officials.

The officials, including the Director of MOWAA Trust, Philip Ihenacho; the Director of MOWAA Pavilion, Ore Disu and Dr Segun Oyadeji of the University of Ibadan at a press conference in Benin City disclosed that on completion, the pavilion is expected to host state-of-the-art storage facilities and the best equipped labs for conservation, digital production, archeology and applied natural science in West Africa.

The press conference was meant to acquaint stakeholders with activities of the Open Day held at the MOWAA Pavilion which is under construction in Benin City.

“This Open Day is a platform to foster a deeper understanding of the importance of archaeology in preserving cultural legacy and sharing some exciting new discoveries,” they said.

The 3-day event took place from June 1-3 and provided informative tours of the future Pavilion centre and educated visitors on the benefits it will offer the city in terms of investment, jobs and educational opportunities.

The diverse turnout, according to the MOWAA officials, included other NGOs, students, artists, artisans, community groups and curious residents.

Representatives from the National Commission of Museum and Monuments (NCMM), the Archaeological Association of Nigeria, the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), and the Universities of Benin and Ibadan were also in attendance.

They added visitors were encouraged to try their hands out at a live dig, pottery workshops, and other exciting activities that highlight the significance of archaeology in promoting community values and supporting local tourism.

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Those in attendance, the officials said learned how scientific studies of buried remains can help uncover knowledge of the past – from ancient diets and farming practices to how great wall fortresses were built.

The educational facility will also provide year-round professional training, internships and outreach activities to sustainably grow relevant skills for heritage and creative economies.

“We are excited to get more cultural practitioners and residents in touch with the Pavilion’s work, which is already proving to be a dynamic space for research, education, and community outreach.

“None of this would be possible without our local and international partners, who are as committed as we are to serve communities in Nigeria.”

Eager to contribute to the education and development in Edo State, they said MOWAA has begun delivering programmes, three of which were showcased during the Open Day.

These projects are in partnership with the National Commission of Museums and Monuments, the German Archaeological Institute (DAI), the British Museum, Cambridge Archaeological Unit, Wessex Archaeology and the Open Society Foundation.

The event also displayed ongoing outreach activities with local schools and community stakeholders undertaken since September 2022.

“In future, we hope to establish other centres of creativity and learning across Nigeria and beyond to grow our global presence,” they noted