Uganda Community Museums Association (UCOMA)
In all the four regions of Uganda that you may visit, you will be pleasantly surprised to find a community museum. Community museums are initiatives by individuals, families or groups who have collected artifacts, oral history, and other elements of the local culture. The museums have made an effort to link past and future through their collections, which are accessible to schools, researchers, local residents and foreign tourists. Community museums play an important role in preserving and presenting the diversity of Uganda’s cultural heritage and provide spaces for accessing, enjoying and expressing Uganda’s diverse cultures. Community museums have isolated themselves as important niches for cultural tourism in Uganda.
In 2010 Community Museums agreed to form an association which was to be owned by the museum owners themselves and be called Uganda Community Museums Association (UCOMA). In 2011, with support from the Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda (CCFU) UCOMA was registered as a Non-Governmental Organisation with the then National NGO Board.
UCOMA exist to bring together all member community museums, to enhance their professionalism and protect their interests, so that communities in Uganda value and promote their culture.
UCOMA’s activities are guided by six objectives:
- To preserve artifacts and cultures throughout the country through community museums.
- To expose to all generations, especially the youth, Uganda’s culture artifacts and traditions.
- To come together under one umbrella organization and share experiences, knowledge, skills, and resources, both within and outside Uganda
- To advocate for the common interests of the members and for a conducive policy environment for their work
- To promote members’ professional growth in managing their individual museums
- To carry out relevant documentation and research on African / Ugandan artifacts, cultures and their evolution
UCOMA’s Programmes and Activities
Professional Development and Capacity building for UCOMA members
Under this area UCOMA promotes professional development and capacity of museum managers in different ways:
- Develop Quality Assurance Standards (QAS) and mentor managers to ensure that they adhere to basic for community museums in Uganda
- Monitor performance of each museum
- Provide social media platforms through which individual community museum managers exchange ideas and learn from each other
- Organise annual meetings through which members share success stories and challenges which then inform the development of UCOMA’s annual interventions
- Encouraging each museum to have a museum management committee
Research, documentation and policy advocacy
To ensure that there is a conducive policy framework for community museums in Uganda:
- UCOMA participates in regional and national dialogue meetings to share information about community museums in Uganda
- UCOMA targets to influence the content of all relevant legal and policy documents at local and national level
Developing Cultural entrepreneurship and positioning community museums as cultural tourism centres
To ensure financial and sustainability of community museums, UCOMA encourages:
- Individual museums to invest in cultural entrepreneurship initiatives such as craft making, marketing and selling
- Develop individual publicity materials such as sign posts and brochure
- Link up community museums with potential sources of support such as Uganda Tourism Board, Uganda Tourism Association, Uganda Museum and Uganda National Commission for UNESCO, among others
- Develop common publicity materials such as a brochure and banners
- Hold regular media engagements
- Fundraise for museum activities