An Assessment of Current Practices and Challenges of Wolaita Sodo Museum

Scientific Study, 2019

45 Pages, Grade: A


List of Figures

List of tables

Chapter- One
1.1 Background of the Study
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3 Objectives of the Study
1.3.1 General Objective
1.3.2 Specific Objective
1.4 Research Questions
1.5 Significance of the Study
1.6 Scope of the Study
1.7 Limitation of the Study
1.8 Organization of the Paper

Chapter Two
Review of Related Literatures
2.1 Definition of Museum
2.2 History of Establishment and Evolution of Museums
2.3 Functions of a Museum
2.4 Museums in Africa
2.5 Significance of Museums

Chapter Three
Description of the study area and Research Methodology
3.1 Description of the Study Area
3.1.1 Location
3.1.2 Temperature
3.1.3 Population
3.2 Research Methodology
3.2.1 Sample Size
3.2.2 Data Sources
3.2.3 Data Collection Instruments and procedures
3.2.4 Respondents Characteristics
3.2.5 Method of Data Analysis

Chapter Four
Result and Discussion
4.1 Establishment of Wolaita Sodo Museum
4.2 The museum collections
4.2.1 Kawo Arat (kings throne)
4.2.2 Hadaro tora (King’s spears)
4.2.3 Kaneba (local drum)
4.2.4 Shtta (local seat made from ropes from false banana)
4.2.5 Darebba (drum beat at the times of peace)
4.2.6 Guma (sign wear by women who possess more than 1000 cattle)
4.2.7 Doga (signs wear by men who have more than 1000 cattle)
4.2.8 Wolaita sodo Museum Marcuwa, Kawo Tona’s chair, Shidha and cultural Jabana
4.3 The Museum Attraction to Local and Foreign Visitors
4.4 Significance of the Museum
4.4.1 Historical Significance of the Museum
4.4.2 Socio-Cultural Significance of the Museum
4.4.3 Economic Significance

Chapter Five
Conclusion and Recommendations
5.1 Conclusion
5.2 Recommendation


Research Questions for Interview

Research Questionnaire for Wolaita Sodo Museum

List of Informants

List of Figures

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

List of tables

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Chapter- One


1.1 Background of the Study

Museum is a non-profit making, permanent institution serving the community regardless of age, sex, religion, status and race (Herreman, 2012). Museums could be also understood as cultural establishments, where objects are collected, preserved and displayed for the benefit of the public. They are also platforms for entertainment, informal education and research (ibid).

Different sources defined museum in various ways. The following definition is the most commonly accepted among different scholars. Museum is a non-profit generating permanent institution uses to preserve heritages, which be useful for research, education and enjoyment. It is open to public (National Heritage Board, 2010:23). Museums construct a view through displaying and interpreting objects, paintings, photographs, models and texts (Greenhill, 2007:1). Museums “can arouse curiosity or inspire new ideas” (Ibid, 2007:4). According to Grincheva, museums are powerful forces that shape and define collective values and social perceptions in national contexts (Grincheva, 2013:40). Visitors to museums are no longer satisfied simply gazing at worthy displays of exhibits in glass cases. Rather, they expect to be actively involved with the exhibits, to learn informally and to be entertained simultaneously (Caulton, 1998:1; Greenhill, 2007:1). As far as the historical genesis of the word museum is concerned, several authors agree that it was a product of the classical period. According to Geoffrey Lewis, the word museum has classical origins (Lewis, 2018 ). This is shared by Merkeb Mekuria who discusses that the word museum, first used in English in the 17th century, derives from the Greek mouseion, meaning “seat of the Muses.” Mouseions were temples or sacred places, which later became repositories for the gifts and offerings of devotees (Merkeb, 2007:18).

The change and continuity between the middle age and renaissance is clearly noted in Merkeb’s thesis. According to him, in the middle Ages, “cathedrals, churches, and monasteries became repositories for religious relics, jewels, precious metals, rare manuscripts, and fabrics” (Ibid, 2007:19). Museum was being used in Europe in the 17th Century to describe collections of curiosities (Lewis, 2018 ). The 18th Century saw the beginnings of the public museum in Europe and, at the close of the century, the establishment of the first museums in the “New World”. The new “public” museums, however, were generally inaccessible to all but the aristocracy (Merkeb, 2007:20). Geoffrey Lewis claims that the use of the word museum during the 19th and most of the 20th Centuries denoted a building housing cultural material to which the public had access (Lewis, 2018 ). Merkeb has similar idea. According to him, the concept of the public museum began to flourish in the 19th Century. During the last half of the 20th Century, museums throughout the world grew tremendously in number and in diversity (Merkeb, 2007:28). He further reveals that, at the beginning of the 21st Century, museums throughout the world enjoy unquestioned popularity and public respect. Millions of people visited museums each year to see, enjoy, participate in, and learn from their collections, exhibitions, and programs (Ibid). It is stated that tourism was introduced in to majority of African states during the colonization period. However, the case in Ethiopia is exceptional. Unlike to other African countries, Ethiopia was not colonized by European forces and the establishment of museum in the country is not a product of colonization. It has many museums among which Wolaita Sodo Museum, which is the major concern of this paper with the objective of its current practices and challenges.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Ethiopia has many cultural and historical heritages among which museums are worth mentioning. There are several regional and national museums in the country consisting numerous collections such as artifacts, photographs, cultural goods and clothes, traditional weapons, charts, maps and so much more. The collections in the museums are believed to represent the historical, social, cultural as well as ideological identities of the culturally diversified communities of the nation. Besides, they are one of major sources of good revenue acquiring from tourists. The basic thing behind this good practice of the museums is the potential and interest to conduct researches. Researches has the potential to reveal the hidden treasures of the community and introduce cultures of different societies in the nation.

There are numerous institutions responsible for the researching, documenting, conserving and promoting the cultural identity of diversified communities in our society. The Wolaita Sodo museum is among these institutions working on promoting the legacy of Wolaita community. There are several collections including artifacts, photographs, cloth, traditional weapons and so much more in museum. The existence of abundant cultural collections in the area forced the establishment of the museum. Although the museum is playing a big role towards identifying and promoting the cultural identity of the community, there is still a big hiatus on conducting deep research on the collections, providing adequate conservation treatment and promoting to general public.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

1.3.1 General Objective

The general objective of the study is to assess the current practices and challenges of Wolaita Sodo museum

1.3.2 Specific Objective

The senor essay has the following specific objectives

1. To review the collections in the museum
2. To outline the significance of the museum from different aspects
3. To assess the museum attraction to local and foreign visitors
4. To identify the main challenges the museum facing currently

1.4 Research Questions

The researcher identified the below listed generic research questions to assess and analyze the potential and challenges of the museum from different aspects. Besides, it’s believed to be important in order to identify and discuss up on major issues with respondents having similar or different points of views.

1. Does the museum have enough collection to promote the legacy of the Wolaita people?
2. How much the museum is attractive to local and foreign visitors?
3. How do we evaluate the potential of the museum in accordance to promoting the history and culture of the wolaita community?
4. What are the main challenges the museum facing currently?

1.5 Significance of the Study

Despite the fact that Wolaita Sodo is privileged with diversified natural and cultural heritages, the sources are not getting enough attention and being promoted well. Since, they are not researched in depth and community is not benefiting from tourism very well comparing to the tourism potential of the land. Thus, this senior essay attempts to leave its print trough assessing the current proactive and challenges of Wolaita Sodo Museum. The outcome is believed to have a significant contribution in creating awareness within the general public, scholars and policy makers to formulate a policy for the protection of heritages in general and the cultural collection in the Wolaita Sodo Museum.

Generally, The study has the following significances: It is relevant for policy and decision makers, it could be used as additional inputs to amend any directives improvements, the study will also be used as a reference material for future studies, to initiate and inspire museum professionals.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The study thematically geared with the assessment of current practice and challenge of Wolaita Sodo Museum since its establishment up to now.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

The researcher has faced several problems while conducting this senior essay. Lack adequate time, budget constraints and absences and inaccessibility of secondary materials in relation to the study area are among the major challenges. Besides, the reluctance and unwillingness of informants about the museum is also not to be exempted from limitation of the study.

1.8 Organization of the Paper

This study has composed of five chapters. Chapter One includes the introduction and under introduction background of the study, statement of the problem, research questions, research objectives, significant of the study, scope of the study, limitation of the study and organization of the study. The Second Chapter will emphasis the literature review that includes theoretical review and previous studies associated with the area. Chapter Three will contain the methodology part under this description of study area, research approach and design, population and sample, data source and types, data collection procedures, ethical consideration and data analysis were discussed. Chapter Four, deals with the presentation, interpretation and analysis of findings of the study in line with the research objectives and questions. Finally, the Fifth Chapter concludes the outcome of the research and provides recommendations on issues that require improvement.

Chapter Two

Review of Related Literatures

2.1 Definition of Museum

According to the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the definition of a museum evolves over time, in line with developments in society. Since its creation in 1946, ICOM has updated their definition in accordance with the realities of the global museum community.

The most recent definition was adopted in 2007 during the 21st General Conference in Vienna, Austria, and states, A museum is a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment ( (Accessed on February 2012)).

While the term itself has remained in common English usage for centuries, the popular meanings associated with it have varied. For example over the last one hundred or so years, English dictionaries have defined museums as: "A collection of natural, scientific, or other curiosities, or works of art." (Findlater, 1884:331). Whereas for Merchant and Charles, a museum can be defined as “A place where men of learning meet, not in the sense of a repository." (Merchant and Charles 1904:780).

More recent definitions state a museum as institution devoted to the procurement, care, study, and display of objects of lasting interest or value; also: a place where objects are exhibited (MerriamWebster 2002:1205).

2.2 History of Establishment and Evolution of Museums

Museums have a long history going back to the 3rd century B.C., when the first known museum was opened in the University of Alexandria in Egypt. Over the years, however, the museum culture has spread to nearly every part of the world and today it has become uncommon to find any country that does not have a museum, no matter how small it may be. This implies that the concept of the museum has become a global concept that has survived the 20th century.

The traditional role of museums was to collect objects and materials of cultural, religious and historical importance, preserve them, research into them and present them to the public for the purpose of education and enjoyment. The early museums were elitist, uninspiring and aloof as they encouraged only the educated people to visit them. The general public were excluded. This focus has today become too narrow and unacceptable in a changing world where there is sustained clamor for more openness, pragmatism and collective involvement in dealing with issues that impact on people, communities and nations.

Originally, museums were places for beautiful and rare objects, collected by wealthy people or powerful institutions. Such collections were opened to visitors, who could marvel, amuse or delight themselves with what they saw. Along with the democratization of society, the community – the nation, the town, the place – became interested in setting up collections that would reflect their own art, culture and nature. Over the years, museums have gradually developed from ornamental collections into something more, something greater, more diverse and complex. Collections have been framed by larger contexts, and the general population has been invited to contribute with information on background, usage and signification. This has gradually started to include personal narratives about living conditions, everyday customs, and cultural practices in a region. ( (Accessed on 4/10/2019).

2.3 Functions of a Museum

A museum is a non-profit making, permanent institution in the service of society and of its development, and open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits, for purposes of study, education and enjoyment, material evidence of people and their environment (I COM Statutes 2001: Article II Definitions).

Museums are dynamic and accountable public institutions which both shape and manifest the consciousness, identities and understanding of communities and individuals in relation to their natural, historical and cultural environments, through collection, documentation, conservation, research and education programs that are responsive to the needs of society. (SAMA,2001: Preamble)

The Pacific Islands Museum Association (PIMA) stated that museums has functions of performing as any cultural center, cultural institution, cultural organization, cultural association and interpretative centers (PIMA, 1997).

A museum is involved with all kinds of heritage concerning mankind and its environment. There are many categories of museums, including zoological (collecting animals) and botanical gardens (collecting plants), archives, libraries and institutions for nature and monument preservation. Each will have its own specific interest of collection. This collection needs to be well preserved, conserved and researched, in order to disseminate the insight provided through exhibitions to society.

2.4 Museums in Africa

Africa, with all of its ecological and cultural diversity, cannot be rigidly interpreted as having either singular or unified artisanal or conservation practices. However, when approaching vernacular arts and their conservation on the continent, some widespread trends emerge. Among these trends which will be discussed in this section are: the colonial legacy of museums, the place of vernacular arts in contemporary collections, and recent indigenous initiatives to re-conceptualize the missions and contents of African museums in order to increase community involvement and awareness of both historical traditions and contemporary cultural practices, simultaneously (Bakubu, 2018 ) .

This brief introduction to museums in Africa will begin with a summary of the historical legacy of Western colonial influence on perceptions of African art and on the development of museums in the continent. Then, contemporary efforts of African museums, which are more focused on heritage management and increasing accessibility to a wider and very much indigenous audience, will be explored (ibid).

2.5 Significance of Museums

The importance of a museum are mainly educational and cultural and not merely housing collections of curious objects. Museums are very significant as they are places of instruction for the general public about the legacy of the past and the common narrative memory and history of peoples based up on the museum collections. The expenditure of the world stored up there, no thoughtful person should leave its door without gaining something from a visit.

A museum is a picture book of the history of man and for study it is to enlarge one’s comprehension of what man has done and what man can do. The universe of man like the universe of nature extends its boundary daily before our eyes and it is in our museum that the story is displaced for the visitors to come.

Museums stimulate curiosity, the gratification of which increases knowledge. The collections are of enormous values as they exhibit the technological and cultural evolutional patterns and human’s interaction with the environment as we can understand from the techniques of production, decoration and composition of the collections and the spatial distribution of the acquired resources.

Museums provides recreational intellectual and aesthetic enjoyment. The education survey of a museum is not merely passive but active. Museum provides opportunities for visual instructions which is more impressive and lasting than oral instruction. At its deepest level a museum is a collective memory bank of human achievement through a collection of objects ( (Accessed on, 4/10/2019).


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An Assessment of Current Practices and Challenges of Wolaita Sodo Museum
Archology and musume
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assessment, current, practices, challenges, wolaita, sodo, museum
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Mr Wesen Altaye Aydiko (Author), 2019, An Assessment of Current Practices and Challenges of Wolaita Sodo Museum, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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