Bamako, Mali, 7 June 2006 - Today a Collaboration Agreement was signed by the director of the National Museum of Mali, Samuel Sidibé, and the director general of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), Luis Monreal. The agreement, signed in the presence of His Excellency Cheik Oumar Sissoko, Minister of Culture for Mali, aims to provide the Museum with a new information technology system, as well as improving the conservation facilities of its collections.
The agreement is part of a series of initiatives launched recently by the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Mali. It follows the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation on 22 February 2006 between the Ministry of Culture of Mali and the AKTC, relating to the conservation of earth architecture.
The Collaboration Agreement sets out a three-point plan for supporting the Museum, which has already started to be implemented: the AKTC has brought in technical equipment and software which will enable the Museum to create a digital database of its collections and digital image and sound archives, and it is in the process of training staff to use the equipment.
The two other elements of the project will focus on reorganising the Museum’s reserve collections of archaeology and textiles, and helping to construct and fit out a new building earmarked for conservation and restoration work. Structures and containers specially designed for classifying, storing and conserving archaeological artefacts will be installed in the Museum’s storage areas, while the textiles storage area will also receive new equipment which meets the international standards for conserving precious materials.
This work is to be carried out under the supervision of a team of experts seconded to the Museum from the AKTC.
At the signature ceremony, Luis Monreal, director general of the AKTC, was delighted with this new Agreement with his institution, “which will allow the National Museum of Mali to use the most advanced information technology systems and conservation methods.”
The director of the National Museum of Mali, Samuel Sidibé, was “thrilled with the collaboration, which will improve the National Museum both in terms of equipment and efficiency, by considerably raising the standard of staff working conditions.”
The Aga Khan Trust for Culture is currently planning a museum in Toronto, Canada, which will house an internationally acclaimed collection of Islamic art and manuscripts; the AKTC also helped to develop the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, together with Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities.
In Mali, the AKTC has been helping to restore the Great Mosque of Mopti, (commonly known as the Komoguel Mosque), of which work will soon be completed. As part of its conservation programme for earth architecture, the AKTC is also planning new initiatives in Mopti, Djenné and Timbuktu.
For further information, please contact:
Réseau Aga Khan de développement (Mali)
Immeuble UATT, sis quartier du fleuve
Musée National du Mali
Tel: +223 222 34 86
Fax: +223 223 19 09
The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) was founded by His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Ismaili Muslims. It is a group of private, non-denominational development agencies working to empower communities and individuals to improve living conditions and opportunities, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East. The Network’s nine agencies focus on social, cultural and economic development for all citizens, regardless of gender, ethnicity or religion. The AKDN’s underlying ethic is compassion for the most vulnerable members of society.
The National Museum of Mali was set up in 1953 in order to collect, conserve and showcase Mali’s cultural and artistic heritage. Since then, its collections have grown and diversified, and they now cover the whole spectrum of cultural heritage: history, archaeology, ethnography, arts and crafts. Today the Museum houses more than 6,000 objects, including a unique textile collection, and it also has a superb holding of photography and videos. Following its extension in 2003, the National Museum has three permanent exhibitions which are open to the public, on archaeology, ritual arts and textiles. It also plays a major role in promoting contemporary art by organising temporary exhibitions and acquiring works by contemporary artists.