SMITHSONIAN Research Mission

USA, 25-30 August 2019

Belle and Co. spent 5 days in the USA, on a research mission to discover some best practices in the museum world under the auspices of the African Union’s Great Museum of Africa project. We interviewed over 14 respondents (directors, curators, fundraisers, exhibition designers, 3D specialists, digital directors, librarians, garden directors etc); toured numerous museums, libraries and back-office admin and storage buildings; as well as collected A LOT of physical materials.

The highlight of the mission was getting to deeply experience and understand what went into the making of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. A museum built on participatory collection practices, deeply connected to community and used as a space for social justice, healing and restorative justice – “A museum to make the ancestors smile”, Lonnie Bunch III, Museum Founding Director.



22-23 June 2019, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Belle and Co. was invited as an independent consultant to join the African Union (AU) Commission’s 3rd Meeting of the Technical and Advisory Committee of the Great Museum of Africa (GMA), held at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in June 2019.

Images above: Artistic and Architectural impression of the Great Museum of Africa, Algiers, Algeria.

LINK TO THE ARCHITECTURAL DOCUMENT: Grand Musée de l’Afrique à Alger-1

The Great Museum of Africa was approved by the Executive Council in July 2016, as a Flagship project of the African Union Commission; and Member States agreed that Algeria would be the host country. It was also agreed at this meeting to establish a Technical and Advisory Committee composed of Member States, the Commission and stakeholders led by Algeria to develop the road map for the launching of the Great Museum of Africa within its first 10 year implementation plan of Agenda 2063. 

Current Committee members are appointed from the following Member States: Algeria, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ethiopia and South Africa.

The Second phase of nominations for Committee members is currently underway from the following Member States: Tunisia, Senegal, DRC, Kenya and Namibia.

The Meeting Agenda:

DAY 1 (Friday, 21 June 2019)

Opening Session included: 

Welcome remarks by Mr Machacha Shepande, Acting Director for Social Affairs, African Union Commission in representation of H.E Amira Elfadil, Commissioner for Social Affairs.

Remarks by Mr Daves Guzah, Chairperson of the 5th Pan-African Cultural Congress (PACC5) and Chairperson of Arterial Network, in representation of the Cultural and Creative Industries Sector Working Group.

Opening remarks by Mr. Facal Ouret, Chairperson of the Technical and Advisory Committee of the Great Museum of Africa (GMA) and Director General of the Algerian Agency for Great Cultural Projects in representation of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria.

Session 1

Presentation of the Aims and Objectives of the 3rd Meeting of the Technical and Advisory Committee of the Great Museum of Africa by Ms. Angela Martins, AUC Head of Culture

Progress Report on the Status of the Establishment of the Great Museum of Africa by Mr Faycal Ouaret

Session 2

Development of the Template for the Collection of Best Practices and preparation of the first mission on the collection of best practices – draft to be presented by Ms. Belisa Rodrigues

Interactive session.

DAY 2 (Saturday, 22 June 2019)

Session 3

Discussion on possible ways and strategies for Resource Mobilisation for the establishment of the Great Museum of Africa.

Sharing ideas and discussion.

Session 4

Finalisation of the development of the Comprehensive Project Document of the Great Museum of Africa

Session 5

Discussion on the Legal Status of the Great Museum of Africa including discussion of the Host Agreement with Algeria.

Meeting end.