Students on a tour of the museum at the Olusegun Obasanjo Library in Abeokuta

Arising from the just concluded International Museum Day celebrations, the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) has advocated the introduction of Museum Education into the Curriculum of Nigerian Schools.

This was among many other recommendations made by the expert speakers and panelists who made presentations at the occasion. The idea of Museum Education is such that recognizes the important role museums play in the preservation and transmission of knowledge products, that is, the histories and cultures of a nation from generation to generations. The survival of any society rests on the power of continuity and the ability of one generation to take learnings from the past to impact the present and to shape the future. Museums, as repositories of cultural and historical artifacts and archival materials, should therefore take the lead in this all important socialization responsibility.

Relentlessly striving to actualise its mission of preserving the past, capturing the present and inspiring the future, OOPL is continually devising means of using its museum to educating its audiences, particularly the youths in order not only familiarize them with their heritage, but also to empower them to be self-sufficient citizens and future leaders.

As a thought leader in this direction, OOPL has developed a two-pronged museum education programme for schools and other interested individuals or organisations. Christened the OOPL Museum Educational Services, the programme is designed to serve schools in two different ways:

  1. Schools visit the OOPL Museum
  2. The OOPL Museum visits schools

Schools visit to the OOPL Museum

In the first option, OOPL welcomes the public, especially students, to the display galleries and other tourists’ attractions within the OOPL Complex. The students are treated to guided tours of the differently themed exhibitions and teaching aids are used to enhance the learning experience.

Other in-house educational services rendered by the presidential library include the Saturday Art Club, Schools Holiday Programme, Teachers Workshop, etc. The Saturday Art Club is for children from ages 10-18 who are taught creative skills for economic empowerment. The Schools Holiday Programme is meant for both primary and secondary school students during the long holidays. It is also to instil creative and survival skills along with civic education into participants in order to take them off the streets so that they will not be drawn into crime.

The Teachers’ Workshop is meant for serving schools’ teachers with a view to educating them on the use of the museum and how to work with the museum in relation to their curriculum.

OOPL Museum visits Schools

In the second option, OOPL Museum comes to schools and other locations. This is done through the Schools Loan Services whereby reproduction or replicas of certain museum collections are loaned to schools for the purpose of study and handling.

The Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library has therefore thrown a challenge at educators and education policy makers to introduce museum education into the national curriculum for the inherent, invaluable benefits.