By Taiye Olayemi
Lagos – The National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), Lagos branch popularly known as National Museum, Onikan, recorded 39,061 visitors in 2019, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
Mr Emmanuel Omotosho, the Assistant Head of Education Department of the commission, told NAN in Lagos on Friday that the figure was a decline compared to 42, 889 visitors recorded in 2018.
Omotosho giving the breakdown of the categories of visitors for 2019 said that they were made up of: 29,046 students; 8,032 Nigerian adults and 1,983 foreigners.
He also said that on the other hand, 34,713 students; 7,249 Nigerian adults; and 927 foreigners visited then museum in 2018.
He said that the commission was putting necessary machinery in motion to ensure an improved patronage in the current year and in the coming years.
“ For 2019, we had 39,061 visitors documented; for the current year, we are working on some measures to improve patronage,” he said.
Omotosho urged Nigerians across the federation to change their negative perceptions as regards museums.
He described the museum as an institution of learning about a nation’s culture and tradition.
He said that the museum used to accommodate historical facts which must be passed on from one generation to another.
He added that younger generations would be able to familiarise themselves with their history and culture of their country and people by visiting museums.
He urged Nigerians to always visit the museums for knowledge acquisition.
He also said that the management of the museum would increase its outreach programmes to offices and schools to improve patronage.
“The museum houses historical facts that date back to thousands of years ago, these are facts we need to know to enable us improve on our present and our future,” he said.
Also, Mr Okechukwu Okwalanwa, the head of Public Affairs unit of the commission, said that it organised eight art exhibitions in 2019 in which both up-and-coming artists and renowned ones participated.
He said that this was a way of assisting Nigerian artists to project their works to the public.
“In 2019, we had eight art exhibitions from renowned and up-and-coming artists that include: Timi Kakandar, Busayo Lawal, Ngozi Schommers, Philip Nzekwe, and Yemi Odetayo.
“We would have had more exhibitions but due to the 2019 general elections and we hope to have more exhibitions this year.
“On the contrary, we had 18 art exhibitions in 2018,” he said.