Western Sudan Community Museum Project
The project focuses on three museums that represent the shared history and culture of the Western Sudan: the Khalifa House and Bramble House in Omdurman, Khartoum; the Sheikan Museum, El Obeid, North Kordofan, and the Darfur Museum, Nyala, South Darfur. The project aims to help NCAM safeguard the museum collections and enhance the three museums as enclaves for community use and education in order to protect local and Sudanese heritage and identity and enable the sharing of cultural experiences that promote peaceful relations within the complex societies of modern Sudan.
The project is designed to work at multiple levels of capacity building including the restoration of historic building fabric, conservation management, the development of new facilities, displays and media archives, engagement with local communities and educational initiatives, and the development of sustainable management strategies. This is being accomplished through hands-on training workshops and specialist support for both the capital aspects of the project and the associated activities.
The three museums are part of Sudan's national network of museums developed in the aftermath of the UNESCO Nubia campaign to save the monuments threatened by the building of the Aswan High Dam in Egypt, and enriched by many archaeological missions since. The museums in El Obeid and Nyala have beautiful collections of archaeological remains that illustrate Sudan's ancient heritage. In addition, together with the Khalifa House – a historic monument in its own right – they also contain objects that recall the events that created modern Sudan as an independent state during the transitions between Ottoman and Anglo-Egyptian rule. This history reflects the rich diversity of the hundreds of cultural groups caught up in the 'Great Migrations' from the west to Omdurman that started in the nineteenth century, the consequent settled populations, and the recent influx of refugees from conflict that have swelled the cities of Omdurman, El Obeid and Nyala. Though fragmented by conflict, the cultural inheritance of Western Sudan is still tangible and cause for celebration.
The WSCM Project is funded by the British Council's Cultural Protection Fund, in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, established to protect cultural heritage at risk due to conflict in the Middle East and North Africa. The WSCM Project was granted a Major Award of £1,000,000 in 2018 and is due to finish in February 2020. The project partners are NCAM (Sudan's National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums), Mallinson Architects, ICCROM Sharjah, and Cambridge University Macdonald Archaeological Institute Heritage Centre.