By Toba Ajayi
The Curator, National Museum, Ilorin, Mrs Bimpe Oladele says the outbreak of COVID-19 has affected the flow of visitors to museums in the country.
Oladele said this on Tuesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ilorin.
She said the concerns about the Coronavirus had resulted in drastic reduction in the flow of visitors to the museum, unlike before the outbreak.
“Unlike before, we normally receive more than enough visitors both young and old, but it is no more like that. We now experience very low turnout of visitors to our gallery.
“Prior to COVID-19, schools do bring their students to the gallery section to view and learn new things, but the story has changed totally. We hardly receive any request from schools to bring their students to the museum.
“There is panic everywhere and it has really affected the activities of the museum. The museum is unable to generate income like before due to outbreak of COVID-19,” the curator said.
She said that in order to encourage more people to visit, she and her team had embarked on sensitisation programmes to enlighten the public to visit the museum, adding that preventive measures had been put in place.
“We have been going around convincing the public to visit the museum. We have put in place safety measures against COVID-19.
“We have hand sanitisers always available at every spot; we also have masks to give out the moment you step into the museum. Our staffs are also well-equipped to stay safe and ready to attend to visitors,” she said.
Oladele disclosed that the museum had trained over 200 youths in Kwara on skill acquisition programmes in an effort to empower youths.
According to her, it partnered with some NGOs to train youths in soap making, sewing, tie and dye, beads making and other important creative works.
She urged the public to erase the notion that museums are fetish places, adding that a museum is a house of the past, present and future.
Oladele added that a museum is a centre for education, and not a fetish centre.
The curator called on government at all levels to invest in museums and tourism to help boost the Nigeria economy.
“It is time to emulate Kenya, they are making it big as they prioritise tourism, and importantly museums, which is also part of their major revenue earner,” she said. (NAN)