* Provides an interesting case study in culture and development, an example of best practice in the field, with lessons to be learned for the future
* Explores the relevance of a museum to the population it serves and to economic development
* Offers a glimpse into Zanzibar’s extraordinary history and culture
Zanzibar is a small island off the east African coast with a grand history. Its national museum is located in one of the world’s most beautiful buildings, The House of Wonders.
Between 2000 and 2005 a nineteenth-century sultan’s palace was converted into a museum to display the history and culture of Zanzibar and the Swahili coast. Does such a venture need foreign assistance? And if it does, how to circumvent the pitfalls of dependency? This book describes how Zanzibar managed to marry self-reliance and partnership in the development of its new museum.
Since the UNESCO report Our Creative Diversity in 1995, attention to culture and development has risen. One of the needs felt in later years was more documentation of examples of best practice in this field. The development of the Zanzibar House of Wonders Museum can serve as such an example. It has been exemplary in many ways: in its contribution to the safeguarding of Zanzibar’s heritage and in its wider scope; its approach to self-reliance and autonomy; and in the sustainability of its results. Part of this development has been a training program, which has a unique character and has contributed greatly to the overall results.