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Author : Fumiko OHINATA

Year : 2010

Another recent project of UNESCO in Ethiopia concerns the establishment of
the Sherif Harar City Museum in Harar. UNESCO Addis Ababa was asked by
the Harari People’s National Regional State to help upgrade a private museum—
the Sherif Private Museum—into a public institution based on artifacts collected
by Mr. Abdulahi Ali Sherif since 1991 (Tarsitani & Abdulahi, 2009). His collection
includes objects related to material culture predominantly of Harari people,
but also of Amhara, Argobba, Gurage, Oromo and Somali people living in the
same region. The collection consists of numerous coins, jewelry, traditional furniture
and utensils, basketry, textiles, armaments, as well as hundreds of manuscripts,
and music recordings. Over the years, Mr. Sherif developed his own
conservation methods, particularly for metal objects, benefi ting from knowledge
transmitted by his father who was an ironsmith. The collection has continuously
been growing, thanks to personal acquisitions by Mr. Sherif and to donations
made by members of communities living in Harar. Since 1998, the residence of
Mr. Sherif served as the Sherif Private Museum, and the need to upgrade this
private museum had become acute since the place was so overcrowded with not
enough space left for display or for properly storing the collection. Since it was
a private home it was not set up to receive visitors on a regular basis. Furthermore,
there was no information material for the public, and—even worse—the
collection lacked a systematic inventory.
In order to assist in the creation of the Sherif Harar City Museum, UNESCO—
fi rst through its offi ce in Addis Ababa and later from Nairobi—managed the
project with fi nancial assistance from the Government of Norway (the Harari
cultural bureau and Mr. Sherif also received fi nancial assistance for the same
purpose from other donors, including the Embassy of France, the Embassy of the
USA, the Embassy of Sudan and private persons). The main activities of the
project are described below:
Please read pp43-up