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Cambridge Heritage Research Centre


Community museums of Western Sudan

The Cambridge Heritage Research Centre is delighted to be partnering Mallinson Architects and Engineers, the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums (NCAM), and project leaders ICCROM-ATHAR (Architectural and Archaeological Tangible Heritage in the Arab Region), in a £997,000 project to restore three museums in Western Sudan and provide for the educational and cultural needs of their communities, visitors and tourists.

Three museums on a historic route

The Khalifa House in Omdurman, the Sheikan Museum in El Obeid and the Darfur Museum in Nyala lie on a traditional trade route leading out of Western Sudan towards the capital, Khartoum. Each museum hosts collections that speak to the community and history of the local area, as well as being nationally and internationally significant. The Khalifa House holds the first car in Sudan, while the displays in the Darfur Museum were created through donations from the community.

Decades of conflict in Sudan have devastated communities, damaged heritage facilities and led to a loss of heritage skills. By revitalizing these three Sudanese community museums and providing training in heritage skills, this project will ensure the museums are protected and that their collections are valuable educational tools.

Training for local people to conserve three Sudanese museums and to protect the artefacts housed thereKhalifa House

Using traditional methods, local craftsmen and trainees will restore the Khalifa House in Omdurman and the Mudeirah Gate in El Obeid.  Infrastructure at all three museums will be improved to ensure the museums are fit for the collections and their communities.  The training will involve development of a five-year conservation management plan for each museum, leading to better heritage management in the future.

On-the-job training in conservation, recording and cataloguing will lead to the protection of approximately 20,600 artefacts. Through the creation of new displays and a programme of workshops, educational and cultural events, communities will gain the tools and understanding to protect and engage with their cultural heritage.

ICCROM-ATHAR will carry out this restoration and community engagement project in collaboration with Cambridge Heritage Research Centre (CHRC) and its other project partners.

The Cambridge Heritage Research Centre (CHRC) will provide consultancy and advisory services to project, drawing from and building on work of CHRC researchers in post-conflict heritage reconstruction and identity.

The announcement of the project grant award was made on the British Council website and ICCROM website on 28 August 2018.