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Accra to build museum complex dedicated to social reformer WEB Du Bois

The WEB Du Bois Museum Foundation has signed a historic agreement with the Government of Ghana to transform the current Du Bois Memorial Centre and burial site in Accra into a new museum complex and destination for scholars and tourists.

The agreement will grant authority for the WEB Du Bois Museum Foundation to construct a multi-million-dollar museum complex surrounding the current memorial site.

Honouring the life of Du Bois

The WEB du Bois Museum Foundation is a New York-based non-profit organisation established in 2019, with the exclusive mission of honouring the life, purpose, and legacy of the celebrated Father of Pan-Africanism, Dr Du Bois.

Its aim is to redevelop his final resting and revive the current Du Bois Memorial Centre into a Museum Complex and as a destination for scholars, artists and heritage tourists alike. The project will restore du Bois’s bungalow where he lived with his wife Shirley Graham, an include a new memorial pavilion near to where the couple’s shrine and remains lay as a place for formal gatherings and lectures.

A new institute building will be constructed and house a museum and gallery, library, research and reading rooms, and event hall and administrative offices.

Fostering unity between African diaspora

“The Du Bois Museum Complex will usher in a renewed commitment to building an international treasure and historic memorial honouring the legacy of Dr. Du Bois, and fostering unity among the African diaspora through a vibrant cultural and research center,” said Japhet Aryiku, Executive Director, WEB Du Bois Museum Foundation.

“The fully curated museum and gallery will exhibit historical pictures, mementos and other items belonging to Dr Du Bois and his wife Shirley Graham.

“It celebrates the life and works of Dr Du Bois in the civil rights movement in the United States, the Pan African (Emancipation) Movement which originated in the United Kingdom and his work in Ghana.”

Born in the US in 1868, Dr Du Bois, a civil rights pioneer and one of the world’s leading black intellectuals and thinkers, became a citizen of Ghana and resided in the country until his death in 1963. Du Bois’s vision of a continent of free and independent African nations was a major influence on Ghana’s first president Kwame Nkrumah.

Designed by Adjaye Associates

The new museum complex is being designed by Adjaye Associates, headed by Sir David Adjaye OBE who is an award winning Ghanaian-British architect known to infuse his artistic sensibilities and ethos for community-driven projects.

Adjaye Asocciates are behind the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, DC opened on the National Mall in 2016 and the planned Edo Museum of West African Art (EMOWAA) Benin City, Nigeria.

The Edo Museum will be built on the site of the razed city and promises to not only restore some of Benin City’s ruins to their former glory but also act as a home for the array of looted objects being returned to Nigeria by museums around the world.

“From an initial glance at the preliminary design concept, one might believe this is a traditional museum but, really, what we are proposing is an undoing of the objectification that has happened in the West through full reconstruction,” David Adjaye, said of the Edo Museum.

At the signing of the Du Bois Museum Complex last week, HE Nana Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana, said the agreement would build on the government’s “Year of Return” and “Beyond the Return” campaigns that encourage the return of African Diaspora from around the world.

About the author – Adrian Murphy

Adrian is the Editor of MuseumNext and has 20 years’ experience as a journalist, half of which has been writing for the cultural sector.

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