Harare, November 10th, 2008:
The National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) recently concluded installation of surveillance and security equipment at the Great Zimbabwe Museum to curb theft of valuable historical artifacts and cultural resources at Great Zimbabwe in Masvingo province.
The U.S. Embassy provided the funding for the purchase of equipment through the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation. The funding enabled the NMMZ to procure CCTV systems, battery backups, computer equipment, alarm and fire detection systems and provided training to staff on the use of the new equipment.
The Great Zimbabwe site is the most valued and revered in the country and includes a museum and interpretive center. This museum houses many valuable archeological artifacts from the immediate area as well as a collection of stone birds that are a source of national pride and in various forms are Zimbabwe’s national symbols.
“Heritage preservation projects allow us to work closely with Zimbabwean organizations, and to affirm our respect for Zimbabwe’s cultures as we jointly identify sites, objects and forms of traditional expression in critical need of preservation,” says James McGee, U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe.
“I am particularly happy to be able to support the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe in the preservation of the Great Zimbabwe Museum. Preservation of the artifacts will prevent the tragic loss of these works and preserve this important historical site for future generations” he said.
Dr Godfrey Mahachi, Director of NMMZ hailed the U.S. government for the timely support noting that “the new state of the art equipment will go a long way in improving the security of the irreplaceable artifacts at the museum.”
“African heritage sites have suffered heavy losses of cultural objects to theft, and the state of the art security systems that we now have will prevent trafficking of these rare artifacts and remove the immediate risk of permanent loss if stolen artifacts can be authentically identified and recovered,” says Dr. Mahachi.
The support from then U.S. will also result in the creation of an auditable computerized inventory of all collections and specimens and an archive through which every object and specimen in the collection can be identified by museum officials, police, customs, art traders and the insurance industry.
The Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation assists individuals and organizations preserve museum collections, ancient and historic sites, and traditional forms of expression, helping to reinforce cultural identity and community solidarity.
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Issued on November 10, 2008 by the U.S. Embassy Harare Public Affairs Section