Uganda National Museum, the oldest museum in East Africa established by the British protectorate government back in 1908, is set for reconstruction after the US-based Getty Foundation under its “Keeping It Modern Initiative” granted the latter US $135,000 to cater for the restoration.
The museum is located in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, and it displays and exhibits ethnological, natural-historical and traditional life collections of Uganda’s cultural heritage.
Over the years, real estate development pressures and lack of national heritage protection laws exposed the museum and other historic buildings to physical threats. For instance, the museum has cracked and has been affected by moisture infiltration due to the seepage of groundwater.
The Design of the Museum
The museum building was designed by Ernst May, a famous German-born pioneer of urban planning. He developed the design as a part of a larger expansion plan for the fast-growing city of the East African country.
As the first modern building in Uganda and one of the earliest cast-in-place concrete structures in Kampala, the museum influenced the design of other government and institutional buildings throughout the nation.
As May encompassed elements of international modern style for the museum such as flat roofing sections, horizontal rows of windows, a cantilevered entry canopy, and polished concrete floors, he also demonstrated sensitivity to the local environment by adding perforated partitions for cooling airflow and angled walls that produce diffuse interior lighting.
Based in Los Angeles, California, the United States of America, the Getty Foundation, which is a part of the J. Paul Getty Trust, awards grants to institutions and individuals that advance the visual arts worldwide through history, conservation, and museums.
In the past, it funded the Getty Leadership Institute for “current and future museum leaders”, which is now at Claremont Graduate University.