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You are here: Home > News > Press Releases > 2007 Press Releases > November

Lessons learnt from Rwanda - Gwynedd link

Esther Roberts, curator of the Gwynedd Museum & Art, Bangor
Esther Roberts, curator of the Gwynedd Museum & Art, Bangor

A Gwynedd Council employed curator has returned after three weeks working on an archaeological project in Rwanda, full of hope by the positive ways museums and art galleries are uniting the population.

Esther Roberts, curator of the Gwynedd Museum & Art, Bangor feels inspired by the fact that Rwandan museums and art galleries are uniting the Rwandan people following the genocide of 1994. As a trained archaeologist and curator, Esther was able to contribute towards the project and share her experience in archaeology, conservation and interpretation. 

“As a country still recovering from the trauma of genocide, Rwanda understands the power of history all too well. History was banned from schools until the curriculum could be re-written. But the memory of those who died during the genocide is very visible in the landscape today – genocide memorials appear in every town. They are part of Rwanda’s history and provide a way for Rwandans to remember and learn from their past,” said Esther Roberts. 

“As part of this rebuilding of a society that was once torn in two, into Tutsis and Hutus - the Rwandan government also sees the development of cultural and heritage sites as central to achieving a more stable, unified society of Rwandans.

The National Museum of Rwanda is one of the largest public buildings in Rwanda and smaller regional sites are currently being developed. 

Esther added: “It is heartening that despite being one of the poorest countries in the world, heritage is not seen as a luxury. Rather, archaeology, museums and cultural sites are seen as part of a strategy of economic regeneration as well as powerful way of raising knowledge, confidence and pride within society – a lesson which is being increasingly learnt in many areas of this country.”

The Rwandan project manager added: “It was great to have Esther’s expertise here and so good to learn about the people and heritage of Gwynedd. She is an excellent ambassador!”

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Last updated: 09/11/2007
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