on July 16, 2000
The National Museum features in most travel guides to Ghana, and so it was one of my first stops when I arrived in Accra. On reflection, it may well be that people write about the national museum so much because there's not a lot else to do on Accra - or maybe people spend a great deal of time in there because its delightfully cool! The museum is fairly large, eclectically stuffed, and not well marked. Its a place for gentle browsing rather than purposeful visits. The most fascinating exhibits, I found, were those detailing the history and meaning of the various symbols used on woven cloth, chiefs' stools and printed cloth. These have been the subject of a great deal of study, each symbol having a particular meaning, generally a proverb. There is also a wonderful section with chiefly regalia, including robes, stools and swords. Upstairs is a little more arcane, with everything from old glass and pottery shards to copies of Roman statues and a genuine mummified head from Egypt!! Although clearly not as well funded as a national museum ought to be, the curators take pride in the exhibits, are helpful as far as they can be, and the museum itself provides an accessible introduction to Ghana, its history and its peoples.
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