Making Maritime Museums Matter in Mozambique
This project aims to clarify the role and relevance of the two maritime museums in Mozambique for their respective local communities. More widely, it will attempt to identify, in collaboration with surrounding communities, what potential social, economic and cultural benefits the maritime museums can provide. Furthermore, the intention is to identify stakeholders and partners for a longer-term collaborative project looking at community engagement with museums and maritime heritage. Case studies are the two maritime museums in Mozambique; the Museum of Fisheries in Maputo, inaugurated in 2014, and the Naval Museum in Mozambique Island which opened in 1975 and is part of the island’s World Heritage Site. Both museums have been constructed or restored with international development aid funding, and they share a mission that includes attracting foreign tourist audiences as well as catering for domestic audiences. As with many other museums across the world that have been funded by international development organisations, there is a need for research on the actual benefits that these maritime institutions offer to their communities. In this pilot study, the goal is to scope the current cultural, economic and social impact the maritime museums have on their communities, and to identify, in consultation with the communities, the possibilities for increasing the museums’ relevance. The research will take place over one month, with 14 days spent in each museum location where the researchers will convene community meetings and conduct interviews with stakeholders. They will work with the community members involved on generating new ideas to make the museums work for them. Maritime museums in Mozambique have not been investigated before, and while some research has been done on identity, memory and community in maritime museums (Beneki, Delgado & Filippoupoliti, 2012), there is still room for researching maritime museums (and MCH by extension) in a development context.