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July 27, 2019

ICOM Kyoto 2019 reads | “The Emerging Role of Community Museums in Uganda”

For ICOM Kyoto 2019, we have selected for you a series of articles published in Museum International in connection with the theme of the plenary sessions.


Fredrick Nsibambi Ssenyonga. 2016. ‘The Emerging Role of Community Museums in Uganda: The Need for Capacity Building Among Managers’, Museum International, Vol. 68, No. 1-2, pp. 125-129.

Community museums in Uganda are initiatives by individuals, families or groups who have collected artefacts, oral history, and other elements of the local culture. The museums have made an effort to link past and future through their collections, which are accessible to schools, researchers, local residents and foreign tourists. Community museums play an important role in preserving and presenting the diversity of Uganda’s cultural heritage and provide spaces for appreciating different cultures; they are cultural repositories, some with well‐documented literature on culture and other socio‐anthropological aspects. They represent a strong will among individuals, families and communities to preserve and promote their cultures without external support. However, not much has been done to recognise their importance in the development of Uganda.

Community museums are still perceived by Ugandans as representing a largely irrelevant past and their role is seen as quite peripheral to the current national and local priorities: as such, they are rarely given visibility and are poorly frequented. The government of Uganda is not sufficiently aware of their existence and does not support them. Tour operators give attention to animal tourism and ignore the human dimension, which is manifested in community museums. The capacity of museum caretakers to efficiently and professionally run community museums is still wanting: they lack a proper network and museum artefacts are not well documented, presented and preserved. Integrating modern computer technologies in museum management is still a major challenge.

This paper aims to highlight the efforts and importance of community museums in Uganda and their efforts to raise their profile both locally and internationally.

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