THE National Gallery of Zimbabwe says its works conform to this year’s International Museum Day theme, Museums for Education and Research.

The International Museum Day is celebrated on May 18 with the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Harare open to the public.

National Gallery of Zimbabwe executive director Raphael Chikukwa told NewsDay Life & Style that the gallery should be recognised as a museum or as a centre of education and research.

“It is important for the gallery to look at ourselves  as a museum or as a centre of education and research because the National Gallery given its history from 1957 till present is a significant art institution and museum within the continent because of the work that we have been doing over the years, from the International Congress on African Culture (1962) to the previous two editions of the International Congress on African Cultures that we have held so far. All those are also informed by research and through that we educate our audience,” Chikukwa said.

He said museums were storytelling centres and the stories they told were important to the vocabulary of education and research, adding that there was no future for museums without education and research hence they put together a culture box to educate learners and visitors.

“In order for us to celebrate the International Museum Day, we have put together our culture box which will then educate our learners and visitors about the cultural context of our beautiful country. I think the theme complies with what the National Gallery of Zimbabwe has been doing over the years and it is significant for us to revisit the programmes and projects that we have been doing which are mainly education and research and to be able to harness what we have within our education department, conservation and collection and how these can contribute to art education not only in the country but on the continent at large,” Chikukwa said.

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He said the relevance of the gallery needed to be felt and therefore they could not isolate themselves from the international community and fellow Africans bound together by the spirit of ubuntu.

He also noted that the gallery mentored a number of artists through the institution’s School of Visual Art and Design. The artists had the opportunity to showcase their works on international platforms.

The International Museum Day allows people to recognise the importance of museums and the role they play in communities.

The National Gallery of Zimbabwe is home to a vast collection of art and artefacts that span different eras and reflect the diverse cultural heritage of the country.