Katsina Museum… linking past with present



A new gallery that reveals the history of Katsina from the 13th Century AD till the present time has been opened in the capital city of Katisna State. The commissioning of the gallery was part of activities put together by the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) to celebrate the 2015 Word Museums Day.

The event, which held at the old Katsina Training College, which now houses the state’s branch of the commission, was presided over by the immediate past governor of Katsina State, Mallam Ibrahim Shehu Shema.

The governor, who declared the exhibition open, said the Museum Day is historic globally as every people and race join annually to celebrate their heritage and history. According to Shema, “Katsina State has a tremendous history behind it. It was the contact point of education and Trans-Sahara trade. It was the first centre of Westen education. That was what gave impetus to the emergence of prominent educated Nigerians from the state. Katsina has taken a huge advantage of the educational opportunity it has to aspire. There is no position that Katsina persons have not held in Nigeria. The state has even produced presidents and other high political office holders”.

The ex-governor believed that no society could boast of progress without being in consonant with its history. It was why he said he ensured he preserved the state’s history as was handed over to him.

“As the leader of the state, I strove to keep alive history as inherited from our fore fathers,” Shema said.

Director General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Usman Yusuf Abdallah, stated that items exhibited in museums across the world are veritable tools for education, entertainment and relaxation as they point directly to a people’s past, the reason they are where they are and what the future holds for them.

This year’s theme Museums for Sustainable Society, Abdallah said underscored the role of museums in raising public awareness about the need for society to be less wasteful, more co-operative and uses resources in a way that respect living standard.

“This year’s International Museums Day (IMD) celebration will be observed in the country across our network of museums to draw attention to the very special role we play in the development of our societies.

“It is hoped that we will continue to enjoy the support and cooperation of all stakeholders as we strive to make our museums educational resource centres for the promotion of creativity and innovation as well as for entertainment and relaxation.”

The DG informed that bringing museums to the forefront of the model of a sustainable society, the International Museums Day 2015 aims to foster awareness in society about the current consequences of human action around the world and the absolute necessity of changing its economy and social model.

“The museum is duty bound to impact its community and society at large through the products of cultural properties in our society.”
For the people of Katsina, Abdallah said they should be proud to have rich history, which further influenced the opening of the gallery.

“This special exhibition in Katsina has no equal the world over. It is not just a thought-provoker but also that which tells the people of the state that they have carved a niche in the annals of ancient world history – the history of Durbi Takusheyi of Katsina and her environs.”

He added that though the history of Durbi Takusheyi was not mentioned in any of the known traveler reports of the 19th Century, archeologists were motivated to investigate the site by the act of providence.

“In 1907, the then Emir of Katsina, Sarki Mohammadu Dikko and the British Resident Officer, Sir Richmond Palmer undertook the first excavation of the burial site of the rulers of ancient Katsina where they found ceramic and metallic goods in the graves. These objects are however missing today.

“Takusheyi was later made an archeological site. In 1959, it was officially listed as protected and declared as the burial site of the early Katsina rulers.

“The site today is a local tourist destination where an immensely impressed medieval and post-medieval history in Katsina is documented,” the DG stated.

When the new gallery was declared open and tour of the exhibition ground began, it was observed that the art pieces on display were majorly from Takusheyi site and its neighbours.

Others are range of objects from Hausa land and other geographical regions of the country. They include war implements, house-hold items such as stools, mortar and pestle, raffia works, garments and accessories.

Also on display were collections of artifacts donated to the Museums by the Emirate Councils of Katsina and Daura such as royal regalia, traditional war and music implements. Very prominent in this section however were portraits of ancient rulers of Katsina from Janzamo to Rumba-Rumba to Batare-Tare, from Karau to Dikko and to the present time.

Dr. Paul Areo of Federal College of Education Department of Social Studies, Katsina, presented a keynote address titled ‘Museums for Sustainable Society’. In his presentation, Areo decried that museums in Nigeria are colonial creation with a vision that confined them to tourist attractions. According to him, this concept has reduced Nigerian museums to a clog in the wheel of progress in the socio-cultural development of the country.

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