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“Restitution cannot be simply a return to the kingdom following exile. It must draw on the wealth of new energies and meanings which the objects in question have produced in the art world and will continue to produce after their return, to emphasise that the time has come to reinvent the museum as a realisation of networks and synergies. These objects, which in the words of Amadou-Mahtar M’Bow have put down new roots everywhere they have been, now have a role to play in building bridges and thus in forging this new kind of museum network.”

— Souleymane Bachir Diagne 
Columbia University, Director of the Institute of African Studies

TheMuseumsLab is a pioneering knowledge-exchange programme for joint learning and continuing education concerning the future of museums in Africa and Europe. It is designed for museum professionals in positions where they seek to initiate and implement institutional development. As a platform for shared expertise and perspectives, TheMuseumsLab aims to build strong and lasting networks to contribute to the transformation of museums and also to foster social change by addressing urgent issues such as global equality, social justice and climate change.

The project brings together a wide range of skills and competencies. Museums, academic and cultural institutions have come together to foster a common approach and mutual learning between Africa and Europe. The initiative is an important step towards Germany’s International Museum Agency.

TheMuseumsLab was jointly developed by several partners: the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Museum für Naturkunde – Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science (MfN), the Master’s Programme in Museum Management and Communication at the University of Applied Sciences Berlin (HTW) and the African consultancy group The Advisors. Several African and European museums as well as other cultural institutions are partners of the programme.

These partners represent a much broader consortium of dozens of museums and art spaces, a high number of outstanding African and European experts and several cultural institutions, including The South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA), the Kulturstiftung der Länder (KSL), Kulturstiftung des Bundes (KSB) and Goethe-Institut . 

TheMuseumsLab is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office (AA), the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as well as the German Minister of State for Culture and the Media (BKM).

Programme 2023:

  • Kick-off Event
  • Module 1, digital: "Entangled Histories and the Future of Museums"
  • Module 2, in Berlin: "Museums of the Future: Embracing Diversity and Sustainability in Berlin"
  • Public Event
  • Module 3, in Nairobi: "Museums of the Future: Embracing Diversity and Sustainability in Nairobi"

Programme 2022

Programme 2021