The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism through the Department of National Museum And Monuments will be commemorated the 50th anniversary celebrations on October 12, 2018 in Gaborone under the theme “The Museum at 50-Celebrating Our Heritage”.
Vice President Slumber Tsogwane officiated at the event.
The Botswana National Museum was established in 1996, following an idea by Alec Campbell who was the founding director of the Museum. Campbell wrote to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs suggesting that plans should be made to start a Museum. He was given the go ahead to start a museum in his private capacity with the help of the Government.
Through the assistance received from the Anglo-American corporation, Standard Bank and Individual Batswana, the building of the first galleries started in July 1967.On 30th September 1968 the institution was officially opened by the then-Acting President Sir Ketumile Masire. In 1974 a board was appointed by the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs to run the institution and Mr Campbell was appointed the Director of the museum while Kgosi Bathoen II became the chairperson of the board.
Due to the increase in recurrent expenditure of the museum the government then took over the running of the institution in 1976. A lot had been achieved over the years in terms of growth and development. Some of those developments include the introduction of outreach programmes such as “Pitse Ya Naga Mo Maotwaneng” currently known as “Mobile Museum Programme”, a radio programme known as “Motswedi Wa Ditso” by then known as “Museum o o Tshelang” and the Museum became the hub of cultural and artistic expression. The growth and development of the department also manifested in the attainment of World Heritage Site Status of monuments under its custody. In 2001 The Tsodilo Hills were listed as a World heritage Site followed by the Okavango Delta in 2014. Some new monuments were established e.g. the Three Dikgosi Monument and the Bonnington Silos Monument. As years passed by various projects were developed in order to preserve Botswana‟s cultural and natural heritage sites for tourism purposes.
Building up to the celebration, on the 11th of October 2018 a panel discussion under the theme “The Museum at 50: A Reflection and Projection on Heritage Development In Botswana” was held. Panelists will included Ineke Stoneham from the US Embassy, Dr. Jeff Ramsay from Botswana Public Service College and Dr. Keletso Setlhabi from University of Botswana who discussed the role they play alongside the museum in heritage preservation.
The purpose of this jubilee is for the Department to showcase what it has achieved for the past 50 years and take pride in the milestones it has accomplished in its 50 years journey.