Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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MEAZA Hezkeias, Palace Museum and Heritage Preservation Directorate

This paper attempts to address the challenges that will be encountered in the course of the Opening of Menelik II Grand’s Palace as a living-museum. Throughout Menelik’s and his successors periods a multitude of buildings of various sizes and functions were added to the compound; nevertheless, only ten buildings remain as a legacy. In the course of its 130 years of existence, it has remained a legendary palace to all rulers, heads of state and prime ministers of the country. In addition, the opening of Menelik’s Palace Museum to the general public has become a subject of passionate discussion for this reason. With proclamation No.459/2005, the Palace Administration was given the legal right to conserve the heritage and open the palace to the public for museum and research purposes. So the Palace Administration is expected to establish a well-organized living-palace museum. Hence, PA must restore ten building complexes, historical gets and the first water reservoir in order to preserve the architectural integrity and historical value of the palace for generations to come, as well as open the complex to the public. In view of this, the opening of Menelik II Grand’s Palace Museum for the public is an overdue project. Many of the Palace collections were not collected following clear procedures and policies. The majority of the collections are actually owned by other institutions. The documentation and inventory of the collections have not been made according to the museums' standard. In addition, security and exhibition systems as well as an organizational structure to perform museum activities are not adequately planned. This paper thus recommends that the organizational structure of the PA must be revised; the structure shall clearly define the distinct museum governance and curatorial activities. In order to realize conventionally accepted values attributed to a Palace Museum, the PA shall develop sustainable and effective management plans that are compatible with the vision, mission and structure of the organization as a whole. All the conserved ten historical old buildings of the emperors are better if they are functional either as showing rooms or debating and research rooms or repository and minor laboratory rooms for artifacts according to their fitness and history.