Many new museums have been established or are being planned in Africa; in this, the continent follows a worldwide trend observed since the 1990s (Karp et al. 2006). This surge is a response to changing civil and cultural landscapes as a consequence of processes of globalisation. Museums in Africa are emerging in postcolonial, post conflict societies with recovering economies and expanding worldwide connections like Kenya and Uganda.
In this dynamic setting the word ‘museum’ is used for newly established institutions attaching new meanings to what a museum can be. Influenced by local communities, national heritage policies and regional and international organizations, different models are arising.
My research investigates what kind of museum models are emerging in two contemporary African museums in Kenya and Uganda and how they are shaped by their context; the local, national and international stakeholders.
One contemporary museum in Kenya and one in Uganda will serve as field sites to analyse what developments are taking place in museum practice, ideology and networks that shape emerging models in contemporary museums in East Africa. Both museums are civil society initiatives; in Kenya the museum is part of a community peace museums network while in Uganda the community initiative is founded on reconciliation and reconstruction in a former Lord’s Resistance Army devastated area. These museums are supported by various national and international organisations and will provide appropriate examples for developments taking place in the wider region.