Amagugu Ethu/ Our Treasures

For the past two years I have been working collaboratively with Dr. Laura Gibson (Kings College London) on a Wenner-Gren funded project called Amagugu-Ethu/ Our Treasures; which sought to document stories from KwaZulu-Natal experts about some of the Zulu collections in the Iziko Museum in Cape Town, South Africa. We worked closely with Museum in a Box, a company dedicated to making museum objects and stories more shareable and accessible.

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Our first workshop took place in April 2019 in Cape Town, and with a team of Zulu-speaking experts, artists, storytellers, technical wizards, museum workers and academics. With the collaboration of staff at Iziko, we spent time in the archives and the collections store, took images and recorded audio of stories about 10 items that have little information about them. We then developed a Museum in a Box resource that plays the story recorded about an object. Using images, 3D prints and sound recordings taken during the workshop, the Box is an interactive experience that gives new insights to the objects and the workshop process.

In September 2019, these boxes and the recordings were sent back to Iziko and to the Luthuli Museum in KwaZulu-Natal. Our Zulu partners in South Africa launched an event  at the Luthuli Museum to introduce the project to local cultural leaders and schools, and we hope the project expands so that many Zulu-speaking communities can hear stories and share knowledge the pots, containers, and beadwork normally locked away in museum storerooms.

You can read more about the project in the post by George Oates: http://www.museuminabox.org/amagugu-ethu-our-treasures/

This project was generously supported by the Wenner Gren Foundation, the University of Leicester, and Museum in a Box.