The Department of Culture at the Ministry of Information, Culture & Tourism is responsible to supervise the National Museum of Liberia, the collective societies of Liberia (Musician Union, the Movie Union, the National Culture Union, the Copyright Association, the Writer Association, the Association of Arts and Craft Dealers) and the National Cultural Center.
Currently, the Department of Culture is working on a plan to rehabilitate the National Museum in Monrovia. Considering that the Museum is a 19th century brick building, the Department is hopeful that our international partners will provide us with a suitably-trained conservation architects to supervise the work. Additionally, efforts are being made to establish contact with the Brooklyn Museum to support the National Museum of Liberia as it is said to have some of its finest arts collection from Liberia.
There are seven Museums established in Liberia, namely: The Africana Museum, Cuttington University; Besao Town Museum, Bomi County; Harper Museum - an ethnography regional Museum; Heritage Museum is in Bomi County, Unotoma Society, Inc., William Tubman Center of African Culture in Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount; and the National Museum of Liberia.
All of the above named museums are in ruins due to the effect of the civil war with the exception of the National Museum of Liberia. We now have a challenge of refurbishing the rest of the six other museums. We therefore will appreciate the assistance of our international partners in helping us refurbish these museums.
The Department is also working with UNESCO to safeguard, preserve and promote traditional textile production techniques in Liberia. This is meant to use cultural preservatives as means of providing income for people in part of the country.
The National Cultural Center is being relocated to Margibi County. The ground breaking ceremony has taken place on the 50 acres of land acquired by the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism. Currently, we are clearing the land, which will be followed by a fencing project. The fencing of the National Cultural Center ground is intended to prevent unscrupulous individuals from encroaching on the land as was done in the case of the old Kendeja. It is hoped that following the fencing project, government will put a bid for the architectural design of the new National Cultural Center.
Right now, the Department is working along with the collective societies of Liberia (Musician Union, the Movie Union, and the National Culture Union, copy right association, the writer association, the association of Arts and craft Dealers) in devising plans by which these groups can be more viable and productive in this new political dispensation.
Additionally, the Department of Culture is discussing a national dress code and proposing Official Days to wear traditional Liberian attire; the establishment of Cultural clubs at Liberian schools; a National Week for Cultural Festivities; and the promotion of traditional Liberian music on various radio stations across Liberia.
Considering that the years of war eroded the trust that existed between people from different ethnic and religious backgrounds, the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism in partnership with International Alert hosted a regional Peace and Cultural Festival for three days, where Liberia’s rich cultural diversity was showcased along with sound dialogue among our traditional leaders. The National Peace and Cultural Festival was a resounding success with one message “Liberians should not allow their diversity to be seen as a front for conflict.”
For these activities, we are encouraging our international partners and all well-meaning Liberians to unreservedly support the Cultural Department of the Ministry of Information as we remain engaged with our cultural heritage and work to ensuring that those attributes of our colorful past are consistently used in fulfillment of the dreams of a peaceful and prosperous Liberia.