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By Andrew Moutu – (A paper prepared for celebrating the International Museum Day, (May 18th), on the theme of Museums and Memory. Download PDF version here)

Artifacts on display in the Old Museum in the Old House of Assembly

INTRODUCTION
In the last few weeks, various forms of media in Papua New Guinea and Australia have published a curious and lively debate about plans which are currently being executed in developing the plot of land on which the Old House of Assembly and the National Parliament was once located. Curiosity and liveliness provide a preface to the notional sense of the two sides of history, which I am employing here as a vehicle to examine the controversy and developments surrounding this historical site. In the course of this discussion I shall be assembling a battery of conceptual pairs in order to make the difference between the two sides of history intelligible.

The curios aspect of the debate over the Old House of Assembly comes not only from the speculative air of insinuations it generates but also from the integrity of facts and evidence that are available to commentators and scribes for purposes of public information and scrutiny. Its liveliness is apparent in the way in which the debate has been carried over time to even attract the commentaries of important people in the country and abroad such as our most recent and former Governor General, Sir Paulias Matane, and a former Member of the House of Assembly, Mr. John Pasquarelli who served as the Member of Angoram in the First House of Assembly between 1964 and 1968.

Sir Paulias has retired to his Raluana village in East New Britain after a long and illustrious career in the public service. Amongst his record of public duties, he served as the President of the Board of Trustees of the PNG National Museum prior to his appointment as the vice-regal. Mr. Pasquarelli came to PNG from Australia where he served as a kiap or a patrol officer on the Sepik River where he subsequently ran a trading company called Las Kampani which was involved in the business of hunting and selling crocodile skin. After leaving the House of Assembly in 1968 and the closure of his business, Pasquarelli returned to Australia where he is now a puppeteer to the notorious Pauline Hanson, who is famous for advocating the supremacy of the white race in Australia.

I have invoked a brief biographical sketch of the lives of these commentators to implicate another way to see the two sides of history which involved colonial expatriates and Papua New Guineans who had a role not just in the making of Papua New Guinea but also in establishing the foundations of national memory through instigating and promoting the work of the National Museum & Art Gallery. The history of the National Museum imbricates the history of colonial and post-colonial emergence of how we have come to imagine ourselves as an independent nation and a part of this history is anchored in the Old House of Assembly. The Museum is not the only institution that can make such a claim and it can be assumed that other sectors of the economy, such as agriculture, can make a similar claim on national history.

There are three assumptions that govern our attitudes towards the historical past. These include the assumption that the past is gone forever; to understand the meaning of a text, you must first contextualise it; and that you cannot tell where you are going unless you know where are you are coming from. These three assumptions seem obvious and simple but they rest on much deeper assumptions about time and eternity, truth and meaning, freedom and responsibility. The minute anyone begins to ponder on these wider assumptions, their simplicity and obviousness disappear and we are left tantalized and beguiled with complexity.

Aside from these three assumptional attitudes to the past, something more elementary turns up at the juncture between the past and the present. We divide the world into things the way they used to be and the things as they are now and this intellectual division supply cues about how the past and the present furnishes us with an object and a method for historical inspection. If there was no difference between the present and the past then nothing could have happened and all things would have remained the same. We know that things are always changing and that reality, as philosophers are inclined to tell us, is always in a state of constant flux. Nonetheless as things change, they move on to isolate the historical past from the present and make it become absent and immutable because the past is a foreign country and there are no immigration procedures available to change it. Only the present is open to the vicissitudes of change and mutability. In this dialectic between immutable absence and evanescent change, history is what becomes of the present when the past catches up with it.

Absence and immutability cast a fascinating spell over those who think about it and they confront us with a peculiar task that often compels every living person to perform intermittently. This is the task of recovering something from the silent depths of the historical past so that it will not be lost to history forever but it could possibly be reinvigorated in memories, images, monuments, literature, archives, patents or artifacts of history and scholarly knowledge. Confronting that immutable absence and making it rise up from the ashes so that it may be exhibited to present and future generations for their appreciation and instruction is the task of history as a social science and of cultural institutions such as museums, libraries and archives which are involved in recovering, preserving and analyzing both individual and national memories. However, the paradox is that the past is not only an inaccessible foreign country but history is always in the making and as soon it is made, it moves on with such cunningness in the flow of time so that it can appropriate another moment in time to settle and crystallize itself in human affairs.

With this paradox in mind, I would want to turn to the recent controversies prompted by the interests and apparent forays of corporate organizations, such as Nambawan Superfund and its joint venture partners to develop the historical site of the Old House of Assembly. Such a corporate interest, which is packaged in a spirit of public-private partnership in restoring a historical site is unprecedented in Papua New Guinea’s history and therefore registers itself as a peculiar moment in which history is making itself. What do we gain or loose in such a partnership? How does this public private partnership in heritage management jibe in or resonate with the public and private dimensions of the two sides of history? To answer such economic and analytical questions, I shall present a narrative that goes beyond an administrative arrangement of cabinet decisions but locates the place and function of the museum in a nationalist project that has its roots planted in the days of colonialism and post-colonial history. The narrative here is arranged with some adherence to chronology but intermittently the account runs back and forth in time in order to give an internal coherence to the argument.

FROM A HOSPITAL TO THE PARLIAMENT

What used to be the Old House of Assembly is located on Allotment 11 Section 8 along the MacGregor Street just as you ascend or descend from the Tuoguba Hill. The building, which later became the Old House of Assembly and then the National Parliament, has no outstanding architectural merits. It originated humbly in 1905 where it functioned as a hospital for the British colonial population. Until its dereliction and demise in the late 1990s, it was versatile enough to endure a series of transformations. Between 1906 and 1936, when Hubert Murray was the Administrator of Papua, the building underwent several modifications to accommodate the growing needs for a dispensary, morgue, an operating surgical theatre and radiology.

When the Second World War visited our shores between 1942-1945, it served as a field hospital for the Allied Forces. Soon after the colonial Territories of Papua and New Guinea came together under an apprehensive banner of a ‘united nation’ in 1952, the building was transformed from a medical to a politico-legal institution. Thus between 1958-1961, the building was converted to house the First Legislative Assembly and 3 years later it became the seat of the full House of Assembly. This was further extended in 1968 to accommodate the Second House and the Third House in 1972. After Independence in 1975, the building remained the same but it adopted a change of name from the House of Assembly to the National Parliament.

I shall come to present a short history of the kinds of post-colonial administrative arrangements of the last 25 years that have led to the current state of affairs regarding the Old House of Assembly. In the meantime, I would return to some accounts of colonial history to show that the Museum is connected to the Old House of Assembly not just as an outcome of recent administrative arrangements, or the mandatory demands of heritage legislation that gives it some purchase over the claims it has to the historical monument or the site. Rather there has been something peculiar about the way in which culture and history figured in the imagination of state leaders, including colonial and post-colonial leaders. All of these bureaucratic and political leaders were involved in pursuing, building and promoting the need for a museum that would cater for the scientific collection and preservation of indigenous cultural and natural history specimens.

This idea is evident as early as the mid-1880s when British Papua was under the colonial administration of the Lieutenant Governor, Sir William MacGregor, and his Government Secretary, Anthony Musgrave. From the records of Australian Archives, Musgrave initiated the idea of a museum by writing to his counter-part in Queensland proposing for a museum to be built in Port Moresby. This came about a year after the Lieutenant Governor, William MacGregor, had begun making collections in different parts of British Papua. MacGregor thought that idea of a permanent museum in Port Moresby was unaffordable at the time and therefore made arrangements that the ethnographic and natural history specimens that he collected be kept abroad until such time the colony was able to build its own museum.

Thus between 1886 and 1898 he made a collection of 10,800 objects from what is now Oro, Milne Bay, Central, Gulf and Western Provinces. In 1897, 2550 duplicates were distributed to the Australian Museum, the National Museum of Victoria and the British Museum in London. A balance of 8250 remained at the Queensland Museum, where it was made clear to the Queensland Museum authorities that the collections belong to the colony and were only there for safekeeping while awaiting repatriation when a museum is established in Port Moresby. Conversations to have these materials repatriated began with the Queensland Museum in 1972 soon after Mr. Michael Somare succeeded Sir Alan Mann as the President of the Board of Trustees. Some 3,297 items have been repatriated from the Queensland Museum between 1979 and 1992 and a further 2,217 are awaiting selection and repatriation. However, this exercise will not proceed until new storage space becomes available at the Museum. Some of the ethnographic items from the MacGregor collection that have been repatriated now appear in an exhibition at the Museum. MacGregor didn’t only leave behind a legacy of administrative acumen or ethnographic objects and natural history specimens for which he has been rightly credited for by his biographers and museum historians, he is also remembered visually by a humble looking street that bears his name. Incidentally this is the street on which the Old House of Assembly is located. A year after MacGregor left to take up another administrative post in Laos, that street, which now bears his name, saw the building of a hospital in 1905. It took another 50 years before it was transformed into the House of Assembly out of which its basement was used to house the Public Museum and Art Gallery and the Public Archives.

Sepik artifacts in the Old Musuem housed in the House of Assembly

Between 1904 and 1939, British Papua came under the administration of Lieutenant Governor, J.H.P Murray who served the dual role of both the administrator and the chief justice. During his reign, Murray not only made a collection of Papuan cultural material but also had a personal hand in drafting and enacting the Papuan Antiquities Ordinance of 1913, which sought to regulate the traffic of Papuan antiquities out of the colony. In 1911 Murray instigated the establishment of a museum to house the colony’s second official collection (after MacGregor). Soon enough its storage capacity was exhausted and Murray sought an agreement with the Australian Museum in Sydney in 1915 to house the collections on the understanding that a small representative sample of this collection be kept by the Australian Museum in exchange of storage and curatorial care. When the Australian Museum ran out of space, the Institute of Anatomy in Canberra offered to house the collections. Murray conceded to this request and the collections were transferred from Sydney to Canberra in 1934. When the Institute of Anatomy was closed in 1984, the collections were shifted across to the emerging National Museum of Australia where they continue to remain to this day.

On the New Guinea side of the Territory, the Germans took the liberty to extract and export much of the cultural property to their museums and private collections in Germany and other European countries and others were also taken to the United States of America. By 1921, three years after the Treaty of Versailles, Germany had given up its colonies and a new civil administration was established by Australia under the terms of the Mandated Territory of New Guinea. But during the wartime occupation of German New Guinea, Australian military took possession of cultural items, about 500 of them and sent them to Australian War Museum. These items were then sent on a loan to the National Museum of Victoria where they remain to this day. The idea of a museum in New Guinea emerged initially in 1921 where the Protector of Natives wrote to the Australian Prime Minister. Official collections began to be made in 1922 with funds made available from the then Department of Agriculture. In the same year the New Guinea Antiquities Ordinance came into effect to regulate the export of cultural material. It was not long before the museum in Rabaul began encountering the familiar problem with space to house its collections and so most of it was stored in crates. Between 1931-32 negotiations began with the Australian Institute of Anatomy in Canberra and about 277 items were sent for safe keeping on loan where they are now absorbed by the National Museum of Australia. Much of the collections remained at the Rabaul Museum and was unfortunately destroyed during the Second World War. After the war, the Territories of Papua and New Guinea came together in 1952. Sir Hubert Murray had just passed away in 1940 and Donald Cleland came in as his successor and plans to create a national museum began in earnest. The then Department of Native Affairs commissioned a nation wide collection of cultural material where colonial officers were encouraged to bring into Moresby for the proposed museum. A committee, which reported to Donald Cleland, was established and in 1954 the Public Museum and Art Gallery Ordinance came into force. Five years later, in 1959, when languages of nationalism were being articulated by native Papua New Guinean elites, space was created in the basement of the old hospital to house the original public museum and art gallery, and the then Government Anthropologist, Charles Julius, served as its first curator.

In 1960 a very prominent group of residents were appointed to serve the Museum in its Board of Trustees. This Board included the services of people “no less than Sir Alan Harbury Mann, Chief Justice of the Territory; Miss Ruth Carter, Principal Librarian of the Public Library; J.K. McCarthy, Director of District Administration; Charles Julius, Government Anthropologist; Dr. Dorothy Shaw, Principal Plant Pathologist; and Dr. J.J.H Svent Ivany, the Senior Entomologist” (Egloff 2008: 102). From then onwards, the Public Museum and Art Gallery took an organizational form and grew in strength, both in its collections and in the recruitment of new technical staff. Much of this is owed to the visionary enthusiasm of the founding President of the Board of Trustees, Sir Alan Mann, who initially arrived in 1958 to serve as the Chief Justice and got appointed as the President in 1959. It was under his stewardship that the Museum Board of Trustees also made iterations that antiquated the old legislations governing cultural heritage and created the National Cultural Property (Preservation) Ordinance in 1965. In the same year the J.K McCarthy Museum was established in Goroka and was endowed with a significantly extensive collection of J.K McCarthy (ibid: 103). Four years latter in 1969, Lepani Watson, who was the Member for Esa’ala Open in the House of Assembly, became the first national to serve as member of the Board of Trustees. That process of localizing the Museum grew steadily in subsequent years.

Bernard Narokobi, Chairman of the National Musuem Trustees speaking at the opening of the Museum 27th June 1977

In 1970 the Museum and its Board of Trustees lost the formidable leadership of Sir Alan Mann when he passed away. He was replaced tentatively by J.S. Womersely, who served as the Acting President for the Board of Trustees for a year. In 1971 the Museum attained the status of a statutory authority and Michael Somare became the first Papua New Guinean President of the Board of Trustees. Somare moved quickly to involve Papua New Guineans in the management of the Museum including the appearance of other notable Papua New Guineans who served on the Board of Trustees including the lawyer and philosopher, the late Bernard Narokobi, and the playwright, Nora Vagi Brash, who is now back as a member of the current Board of Trustees. In 1972, a Dutchmen, by the name of Dirk Smidt was appointed as the first Director of the Museum and, as the President of the Board of Trustees, Michael Somare pushed the plans for the establishment of a museum building in tandem with the quest for our Independence. Somare remained the President of the Board of Trustees in the busy years as the Chief Minister while preparing for Independence. In 1975, Geoffrey Musuwadoga took over from Dirk Smidt, as the first local Director of the Museum and when we gained Independence, Michael Somare relinquished his role at the Museum and the President of the Board of Trustees was handed over to Bernard Narokobi who continued to serve the Museum as a Trustee until his recent demise.

In 1961, this old hospital was subsequently converted into the Old House of Assembly and became the political and ideological cradle of independence and the Papua New Guinean nationhood (see Egloff 2008: 99-102; Stanley 2007: 209-211). The upper chambers of the hospital were converted into the House of Assembly and the museum and the archives were located at the basement of the building. In retrospect, one could say that if modern Papua New Guinea was founded on ancestral wisdom as the Constitution asserts in its preamble, then the imagery of this ideological foundation is no where more visually expressed than in the Old House of Assembly. Ancestral wisdom, objectified in the form of museum collections, was neither rejected as archaic nor relegated to the basement of our memories but rather provided the ideological foundations for the emerging Papua New Guinean nation-state. Michael Somare, while serving as the Chief Minister, supported the Board of Trustees and the Museum management and together they secured a grant from the Australian government, which led to the establishment of the current museum along with other cultural institutions in the country including IPNGS, National Film Institute, the National Arts School etc.

The work on the current museum began in 1975 and two years later the Prime Minister, Michael Somare, officially opened it in 1977. This was also the time when the Museum severed its umbilical ties and moved out of the basement of the House of Assembly and came to inherit its current premises. Between 1960 and 1975 all of these intensities were concentrated in the Old House of Assembly. Therefore the claim that the National Museum has on the Old House of Assembly is as historically rooted and real as an umbilical tie connected internally to the womb of our national imagination. I hope it has now become apparent that the historical individuals who were involved in creating this country in one way or another, both in the colonial and post-colonial periods, expatriates and Papua New Guineans, are also those who were simultaneously involved in creating the national museum.

What is perhaps unclear or taken for granted is the relationship between history and politics and where they reconcile in mutual reinforcement is located at the level of action. If freedom and progress are cherished ideals and pursuits of independent and sovereign states, then they depend on the two sides of history, the past and the present for their realization. Sovereignty and citizenship require a freedom from the past as much from existing powers of the present day to determine its own affairs without interference from external agencies. It is fitting to remark here that since 1913, when the original heritage legislation came into existence, one side of our then British Papua had to rely heavily on the Customs to protect our heritage. Under the current leadership of Commissioner Gary Jufa, the Customs has rebranded itself with a profound ideological message of “protecting our borders, securing our futures”. This slogan implicates both borders in space (as in territorial extent) and borders in time (as in temporal extent). No state could be considered sovereign if it cannot change a course of action that has been adopted from the past. Sovereignty and freedom have their borders in time and in space. The borders mark the point where sovereignty and citizenship begins and where the past is cut off and without such an imaginary or a real border, the state could not function to secure the freedom of its citizens or to usher their progress into the future. The Old House of Assembly and the New Parliament is the image of such a border divided along the two sides of history, the past and the present. However, if history is absent and immutable, the point is to change it and what can be changed is the present! It is at this juncture that we should now turn to a recent history of administrative arrangements to put the current controversies surrounding the Old Hose of Assembly in a clear light.

ADMINISTRATIVE ARRANGEMENTS

Opening of the first House of Assembly, June 1964 (Source: http://malumnalu.blogspot.com/2011/04/pasquarelli-decries-loss-of-house-of.html)

The Old House of Assembly was vacated after the construction and opening of the new National Parliament in 1984. The building was left to the care of the Central Provincial Government for purposes of its provincial assembly. This came about through a NEC Decision No. 27/90. The decision to leave the Old House of Assembly came from a sympathetic view that the Central Provincial Government lacked capital and other infrastructure to operate and carry out its functions. Therefore the State divested its interest in the historical building and entrusted its use to the Central Provincial Government. Subsequently in 1992, following the outcome of the Land Board Meeting No. 1876, the National Gazette (N0. G35 of 7th May 1992) stipulates that the Central Provincial Government was granted a Business (Commercial) Lease over Allotment 11, Section 8, Granville, in Port Moresby where the Old House of Assembly was located. By then, the Central Provincial Government had abandoned the custody of the building when it moved to occupy the old Konedobu Government Building.

Between1990 and 1996, the building was left unattended by any official government authority and so its physical condition suffered a steady decline. Illegal tenants and stray animas took up residence in the building and its disintegration heightened when two fire incidences claimed 90% of the building in 1996. The fire attacks on the building attracted a public outcry and ultimately government attention. Therefore in 1996, the Government through a NEC Decision No 182/96 rescinded the earlier NEC Decision No. 27/90 and resolved to transfer the custody of the Old House of Assembly from the Central Provincial Government to the National Museum & Art Gallery.

The same NEC Decision also carries a directive for the restoration of the Old House of Assembly to be developed as a political museum and a historical monument to remember our political leaders and Independence. This restorative project was intended to commence in 1997 and a sum of K106, 000 was initially earmarked by the Government to provide initial seed funding for this project. Following the NEC Decision to transfer custody of the Old House of Assembly to the National Museum & Art Gallery, the then Minister for Lands, Hon. Viviso Seravo, granted a special purpose lease in favour of the National Museum & Art Gallery. This lease, dated 26th of February 1998, was valid for 99 years.

Since it’s granting in 1998, the special purpose lease is still valid for another 86 years. Therefore the NEC Decision No 30/2007 to rezone and subdivide Allotment 11 and Section 8 into a public and commercial areas with both titles granted to OPH Limited is surprisingly done without any legal consideration of the 99 years lease granted to the National Museum & Art Gallery. The transfer of the title under the terms of the NEC Decision No. 30/2007 could be illegal. The NEC Decision No 30/2007 is made through a policy submission made through the then Lands Minister, Dr. Puka Temu after discussions with OPH Limited. The policy submission included the proposal that OPH Limited would build a replica of the Old House of Assembly and have it transferred with no cost to the State. It was an exchange arrangement. Since the NEC Decision of 2007, there have been some discussions between the NMAG, OPH Limited and its joint venture partners about plans for developing the site.

We expect that once the development has taken place as planned, the Museum will be given the title to the replica of the Old House of Assembly as stipulated in the NEC Decision. Whether the NEC Decision is a legally binding agreement upon OPH Limited and Nambawan Super Fund is a matter that only belongs to time to prove. Therefore we need to be sure and to be guaranteed if the proposed replica of the Old House of Assembly would indeed be transferred to the NMAG after its completion. Moreover, the NEC Decision indicated that title would be also given back to the Museum. What is not clearly spelt out in the decision is whether the Museum would not only be given the replica of the Old House of Assembly but also the land on which it is located as well as the easement area surrounding the building.

USURPATION OR PARTNERSHIP, PROPERTY OR HISTORY
The fact of the matter is that we do not have an Old House of Assembly. We are left with only the remnants of the building that has been left to the mercy of stray animals and illegal tenants who have reduced the building to rubbles since the 1990s.

Essentially we are talking about the site on which the Old House of Assembly was located and what we seem to be asking for is the restoration and preservation of the memory of this building which has since been effaced and estranged from our midst. In light of this, we find ourselves pursuing two ill-defined objectives: one is the economic value of the land and the other is the historical value of the site and, in this instance, the significance of what it stands for.

There is actually no monument to preserve now: only the vestige of such a historical building and a general appreciation of the synergies that brought this country into existence. So what are we pursuing: is it the economic value of the land or the historical value of the site? Can we have both and with only the remnants of the Old Building lying, as it has been, in despicable ruins? Are we seeking to preserve the ruins of a building or to revive and preserve the memories associated with that building? The current debate that has unfolded in the public media appears to zoom in mainly on the land area on which the development is taking place. Therefore it is sensitising the historical significance of the site as a moral platform to make claims about the legal and economic value of the land as opposed to the historical value of the site itself. History appears to be instrumentalised in order to serve as a means to an end rather than an end itself.

Many historical sites in different parts of the world appear to possess a capacity to mobilize all kinds of psychological sentiments which could sometimes be contradictory and ambivalent including the feelings of awe and fear, inspiration and composure, lament and intimidation, pride and derogation, interest and indifference or conflict and resolution etc. What we have witnessed with the controversies around the Old House of Assembly are rooted around claims of national identity and a tussle of ownership radiating out of competing claims that emanate from administrative decisions pertaining to the land area on which the Old House of Assembly is located. Since 2008, scribes from our daily papers, the Post Courier (15th of May 2008) and The National (18th of April 2011), have on different occasions published news articles carrying the allegation that the land on which the Old House of Assembly is located was sold to some private companies. The immediate subtext to such journalistic bylines is the accusation that the Lands Minister at the time who was involved in the discussions that led to the NEC Decision must have been bribed. Such an accusation would equivocally indulge the complicity of private companies in participating in such a deal.

However, if we set aside bribery and corruption, for their merits remain as allegations that rest on one side of history, we are still left with, on the other side, the feeling that public history has been pillaged or usurped by private commercial interests. Here we find the language of property expressed through idioms such as theft, sale, and alienability, providing a moral sound byte for competing claimants to register their bids of ownership. One anonymous contributor to the editorial wrote (The National 04th of May 2011) demanding to know the economic value of the land and the financial value of the building that would replace the Old House of Assembly as a replica. If there was an exchange or a swap arrangement made between the State and the private developers, the anonymous writer was seeking to obtain a degree of commensurability measured through the value of the properties that have been exchanged. If the properties under comparison do not yield a commensurate value in market terms, the argument suggests that public national history has been lost to private commercial interests. The import of this economic argument suggests that only commensurability would provide the moral guarantee that history has been or could be preserved. Without commensurability, the argument suggests, the game is concluded with one side of history declaring some as winners and others as losers so that the space between them is occupied by an adversarial tension while the time outside of them recedes into oblivion.

Commensurability is measured in quantitative terms where so much portions of land is being compared with the market value of the proposed building. For example the total land area is 1.2 hectares and 0.1 hectare of this would be used for the building to replicate or represent the Old House of Assembly. The market value of the land in 2007 was estimated at K2.5million but has now appreciated to about K9million and this would be the cost of this new building. I am inserting figures here to indicate how commensuration is being established in terms of the value of the land and the building.

This economic valuation of the land inflects a commodity potential to the historical sight. On the other hand there is a persistent ideological belief that the value of our historical and cultural heritage cannot be fixed by any degree or kind of quantification. A distinction between the economic value of the land and the historical significance of the site exemplify another instantiation of the two sides of history. Therefore the initiative by Nambawan Superfund and its joint venture partners comes in at an interesting point in time when our economy could support such an idea. The proposal is premised on a moral of public-private-partnership that hopes to eliminate a zero-sum rivalry between the State and the private developers. A zero-sum game is played with an outcome where one man’s loss is another man’s gain. The public private partnership however hopes to create a win-win situation for all. The private joint ventures have been given the opportunity to develop the land area into office units over time and the other part of the land would be used to build a replica of the Old House of Assembly. The cost of this exercise is born by the joint venture companies in exchange of quiet a significant portion of the land and possibly other tax concessions that might be granted to them. Further details of this need to be worked and legally binding agreements have to be made between the developers and the State acting through the National Museum and Art Gallery.

In many parts of the developed world, the relationship between museums and historical or cultural sites and the business world is important to help generate money through corporate events, conferences, sponsorship and endowments. Museums have become sites of commercial interaction and celebration, franchises hired by companies to add gravitas to their events. Museums have become venues for hire, lending a complex cultural imprimatur to corporate proceedings. Similarly corporate organizations can purchase cultural capital and economic concessions by sponsoring buildings, making endowments or philantrophic initiatives that help towards the running of museums. Organisations such as the Friends of the Museum, which we are just trying to revitalize here, have a symbiotic relationship with the Museum, which adds a community presence which augment and galvanise the work of the museums.

The National Musem & Art Gallery, 1980

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