Sophie Mew
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Managing the cultural past in the newly independent states of Mali and Ghana
in Cultures of decolonisation
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Focusing on the national museums of Ghana and Mali, this chapter examines the ways in which cultural heritage was dealt with in these institutions, alongside the modernisation projects of these emerging nation states. The National Museum of Ghana occupied a complex conceptual space in the years preceding and following independence. By displaying material culture from across the nation, the museum participated in Ghana’s ongoing nation building. However, it also had a duty to avoid presenting the diversity of cultures in a divisive way to accord with Nkrumahist efforts to promote national unity as well as Pan-Africanism. In contrast, The National Museum of Mali suffered during the decolonisation era and was not recognised as a public space for displaying cultural heritage. For young Malians, the processes of transmitting cultural values from the state to the citizens were more successfully achieved by the hugely popular annual events (les semaines de la jeunesse) launched by the ‘pioneers’ in 1960 than by their own museums.

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Cultures of decolonisation

Transnational productions and practices, 1945–70

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