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Development of Museums and Heritage Sites for Cultural Promotion

Project life span: 2015/16-2019/20

Project cost (estimated for the complete lifetime of the project): 20.886 (Ushs Billion)
Relevance of the project with respect to the NDP and sectoral policy objectives: The project contributes to the conservation and promotion of natural and cultural heritage in the country.


Culture and creative industries are increasingly being used to promote destinations and enhance their competitiveness and attractiveness. Many locations are now actively developing their tangible and intangible cultural assets as a means of developing comparative advantages in an increasingly competitive tourism marketplace, and to create local distinctiveness in the face of globalization.

It is a mandate of the Museums and Monuments Department under the Ministry of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities to preserve and sustainably develop Uganda’s Museums and Monuments or Heritage sites for the benefit of the people of Uganda and future generations. Uganda was the first to develop Museums and Monuments or cultural heritage sites in East Africa. Currently, Uganda has the lowest number of museums and heritage sites developed compared to Kenya and Tanzania. Kenya has 8 regional museums and Tanzania has 10 regional museums, 8 cultural heritage sites listed on the World Heritage List whereas Uganda has only one developed National Museum and two regional museums which are not even developed to international standards. The only cultural site listed on the UNESCO World Heritage, the Kasubi Royal Tombs is also in danger because of the fire that gutted it down in March 2010. The six rock art heritage sites which have been developed in the last four years, only management plans and a dossier were completed and submitted for listing in the 2015 UNESCO session. Even though some of these sites have started receiving visitors, none of them has visitor facilities such as toilets, interpretation centers and canteens.

The Department of Museums and Monuments from 2010 through the Finance Project Support to Museums and Monuments developed two regional museums; Kabale regional museum and Karamoja Sub regional museum.  Other regional museums such as Soroti, BoQs and Designs were made, and construction works are yet to start. Designs and BoQs were also developed for Fort portal cultural heritage trail centre and a transport gallery at the Uganda National Museum. One should note that, since 1954, exhibits at the Uganda National Museums have not been changed. This creates boredom to cultural visitors and therefore cannot return for 3 times as there is not enough rooms for temporary exhibitions.

On the side of heritage sites, research on 17 Rock Art sites completed in 2012 provided information which has been used in the tourist manual for the rock art trail in eastern Uganda. The research revealed that Rock Art in Uganda was made by hunter gatherers about 5000 years before present. This becomes the oldest rock art in east Africa as those of Kodoa in Tanzania also listed on World Heritage List are younger (Nyiracyiza and Turruchetta, 2013). Management plans for the 6 nominated Rock Art sites have been completed awaiting printing and distribution. These sites therefore do not have visitor facilities such as interpretation centers, reception, toilets and cafés.

There are only 2 museums and one cultural site fairly developed in the whole country yet the current clientele cannot access some of them because (i) is banned from the public (ii) the two museums do not meet international standards hence leading to boredom. Uganda has over 640 registered archaeological, Paleontological, historical and traditional sites but only 10 are gazzetted, 1developed (Fortpartiko) and 1 under development (Kasubi Loyal Tombs). The rest have deteriorated due to lack of conservation, preservation, interpretation and promotion.  It should be noted that the Uganda National Museum's collections comprise the finest ethnographic collection ever made in Eastern Africa (Merrick Posnansky, 2012). Many of the items are very fragile, most are irreplaceable as Uganda has moved on in the last 40 years into the modern world. These Collections started deteriorating in 1969 as conservation and good storage techniques were not maintained. Labels became detached from objects; many labels were eaten by cockroaches, silver fish and other pests. Accession cards were dispersed and no accessions were registered. Up-to-date, lack of storage has led to loss of information that would benefit the whole country.

Similarly, there is no single fully developed historical site for tourists at the moment. Historical sites of different attributes have neither been preserved nor presented to the public. The tourism development plan (2015-2020) identities Uganda to have a lower coverage of tourism products focusing on wildlife and leaving historical sites in a sorry state; undeveloped and yet they can also contribute to tourism growth of the country which in turn brings employment opportunities hence poverty alleviation.


  • To increase the contribution of cultural heritage to tourism earnings

Expected Outcomes

  • National Museum renovated and equipped with ICT, 3 new galleries with offices, 1 Laboratory, 2 Storage

  • A Theatre constructed at National Museum.

  • Three Regional Museums constructed and equipped

  • 15 Cultural Heritage Sites developed for tourism diversity

Achievements from the previous Financial Years

  • Construction of Soroti museum completed, fenced and compound landscaped;

  • Designs and BOQs for Mugaba palace prepared.

  • Land title for land in Fortpotal town council acquired

  • Title secured for land in Arua. Designs and BOQs prepared for Arua Museum.

  • National Museum Transport Gallery constructed

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