“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
A pioneering mutual learning and knowledge-exchange program for African and European museum professionals, TheMuseumsLab, started in May 2021. 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.
A broad partnership has come together for TheMuseumsLab: The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin (Leibniz Institute), and the Master Program in Museum Management and Communication at the University of Applied Sciences (HTW) Berlin and in close cooperation with the African consultancy group, The Advisors.
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 Kulturstiftung der Länder (KSL) und Kulturstiftung des Bundes (KSB), Goethe-Institut and Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa). TheMuseumsLab is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office (AA) in close cooperation with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as well as the German Minister of State for Culture and the Media (BKM).