COVID-19 Forced National Museum to Close Its Door

Addis Ababa :  The impact of COVID-19 pandemic has forced to the unprecedented closure the doors of the historic National Museum of Ethiopia.

Senior Museum Research and Exhibition Expert at the National Museum, Hailyesus Abate told ENA that the museum is the home of the 3.2 million-year old grandmother of humanity, Lucy or Dinkinesh, now fully closed due to the impact of coronavirus.

The spread of coronavirus significantly hampered its capital to create positive image on global scale, he said.

The issue of national identity is the thesis of much dialogue and debate, mainly in the fields of social and cultural studies.

Museums lie at the center of these debates, their collections, and the presentation and interpretation of these collections, being inextricably linked to national identity.

But, the COVID-19 pandemic has abruptly and considerably impacted on the global museums, arts and cultural heritage sectors as most cultural institutions had been indefinitely closed, he said.

Last month UNESCO launched a report targeting museums around the world in the face of COVID-19, which showed that global museums have been affected by the pandemic as 90 percent of them closed their doors during the crisis and more than 10 percent may never reopen.

Hailyesus stated that Ethiopia is among the countries that fully closed their museums immediately after the incidence of the virus.

“We closed our museum almost days after the country reported the first case, so there is no vesting activities for the past three months in our museum,” he said.

The coronavirus crisis coupled with the indecisively resulting it, profoundly affecting the operations of the museum in capitalizing the positive image of the country and the livelihood of many people who rely on the sector, he noted.

“This museum is our image, it represents not only Ethiopian history but also the history of mankind as all the ancestors of human beings found here. So, many people always come to visit the museum but now visitors can’t come to visit the museum due to the pandemic. This is a serious loss which cannot measure by cash,” he stated.

According to the expert, more than 600 people visit the museum in a day in addition to students, researchers and professional that used the museum for study purpose.

“Almost all people that come to Ethiopia for transit or as a guest do not return without visiting this museum. We were highly working on the image building of the country in this museum,” he said.

Archaeological findings, fossilized remains of early hominids, the 2019 Nobel Award of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed other archaeological and paleo-anthropological treasures are contained in the museum.


Source: Ethiopia News agency

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