By Mamokone Machabe
-With the World Museum Day celebrated 18th May annually, we get in touch with Ms Ts’episo Mahase, Morija Museum and Archives Marketing and Promotions Manager, to learn more about the museum’s contribution to the country’s Arts and Culture and their preparations for museum day.
Q- Why is it important to celebrate World Museum Day in Lesotho?
A-International Museum Day allows us to be part of a global community. As the longest standing museum in Lesotho, our role is to maintain good relations with other museums, and to partake in conversations that directly align with some of our responsibilities
Q- What are you doing as an institution to persuade tourists and scholars to keep on coming back?
- We have a number of projects and initiatives that allow us to keep tourists and scholars interested, more so, there are a number of tours that the museum offers such as the museum tour itself, mission tour, dinosaur footprint tour etc. that allow for different interests to be piqued.
Q-What initiatives have you taken to ensure safety to the museum’s visitors?
A-All public areas and surfaces are spotless. The number of visitors in the exhibition room is limited to ensure that they have a pleasant tour. Receptionists are trained to serve clients. They are pleasant people who will provide visitors with the necessary information.
Q -What are the museum’s achievements since its establishment?
A– Please see www.morijamuseum.org as there are a number of things highlighted in the website.
Q -How do you keep the collections safe in the museum?
A- Creating a proper environment.
-We protect against direct light by covering the windows and globes with ultraviolet (UV) paper.
-We use chemically stable materials such as acid-free paper and bubble plastic for storage.
-Temperatures and relative humidity: We always open the windows for the control of humanity.
-Keeping the space clean at all times to avoid dust and pests
-Cleaning and repairing the artifacts.
-Record and keeping and documentation.
Q- How do you come up with ideas for exhibitions?
- We select interactive exhibits—those that encourage and invite active participation.
– Eye-catching artifacts—exhibits that encourage visitors to interact with them
– Exhibits that allow us to share our stories
-Inclusion: An interactive exhibit is ideal for all visitors, regardless of age, education, or cultural background.
Q -Is there anything you do to make the museum more interesting or rather unique?
A-We pride ourselves with being the oldest museum in the country, having initiated a number of projects over the years such as the School Cultural Competitions, Morija Arts and Cultural Festival, Re-appropriating Lesotho’s Cultural Heritage Through New Media project, Seriti Sa Makhoarane Heritage and Tourism Network in partnership with Royal Archives & Museum Matsieng etc. These projects and continuous research on heritage have allowed us to create interesting and unique work relating to some key historical events which we are able to provide to researchers.
Q- What can young creative do to get their drawings displayed at the museum?
A- It is only to meet the curator to request that his work be exhibited in the museum. However, the best place to express interest would be to our sister institution Morija Arts Centre who occasionally have art exhibitions.
Q- Is there any special celebration or activities prepared for the museum day? Yes. This year’s theme is ‘Museums, Sustainability and Well-being’ and we have organized facilitators such as a counselor, an environmental activist and fitness instructor to invigorate the museum staff. This year we realized that it is best to keep it amongst staff, as we need to be stimulated in order to be our best selves when working at the museum.