Getty East Africa Program
The Getty Foundation collaborated with the British Museum to create the Getty East Africa Program. The program was launched in 2011 and offered collections care training to museum professionals from the East African nations of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. With Foundation support, British Museum staff visited more than forty regional museums to identify training priorities. The resulting survey was the most comprehensive assessment of museums in the region ever undertaken, with detailed analyses of collections, conservation, display, visitor experience, management structures, and staff capabilities.
Based on the survey results, the Getty East Africa Program targeted entry and mid-level museum employees who had direct involvement with collections. It focused on collections care, preventative conservation, storage, and exhibition display. Workshops took place at two regional museums in Mombasa and Kisumu, Kenya, and the practical training resulted in upgraded storage facilities, new displays, integrated pest management systems and updated interpretive materials at these two host museums. The skills taught were practical and transferable, with all materials for the workshops coming from local source. This ensured that the programs were sustainable and economical during the workshop and afterwards, once applied back at the participants' own museums.
The Getty East Africa Program continued through the end of 2014 and formed the capstone of the Foundation's nearly three decades of work in Africa. Of the hundreds of museum professionals that were trained in preventive conservation as a result of the grants, many are now in charge of collections care, and some have gone on to become museum directors. While no one underestimates the challenges that African museums still face, the collaboration with the British Museum, combined with the projects previously funded by the Getty, have significantly improved conditions and empowered a generation of African museum professionals.
Above: Peter Kang'ethe Wanjiku (Nairobi National Museum), Priscilla Mutile Mbai (Nairobi National Museum), Charles Aongo (Kisumu Museum), and Musa Oyugi Osumba (Kitale Museum) discuss display layouts as part of an Exhibitions Display workshop. © The Trustees of the British Museum