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Francistown to get a Mining Museum

Publishing Date : 08 October, 2018

Author : TAPELA MORAPEDI

Francistown will have a Geology and Mining Museum in Gerald Estate by 2021, the Deputy Director of the Department of National Museum and Monuments (DNMM), Steven Bogotsi has revealed in Selebi Phikwe last week when address council.

The museum is one of the Department’s NDP 11 Projects under the Museum and Heritage Development Programme. The museum will be a specialised one showcasing geology and early mining in Francistown area. Mogosi explained the museum will be a first of its kind in Botswana and will be declared a national monument.


The museum will be called Gerald Estate National Monument (GENM).He said GENM is significant for its unique columnar joints discovered during Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC)’s housing construction in the area, further explaining that the columnar joints are “a rare dolerite geological feature formed 180 million years ago.”


“The outcrop needs to be protected for appreciation and research. The Museum will present and exhibit other rocks, minerals, fossils and other geological material in Botswana for research, public education and appreciation,” he said.
The museum will definitely be a welcome development for residents of Gerald Estates who are reportedly to have been angry at Government for not consulting them when the columnar joints were taken from their area to be erected at Francistown International Airport and Tropic of Capricorn.


The implementation schedule indicate that the museum is currently at design stage which construction expected to commence in 2019/20 while exhibition is expected to start in 2020/21. Mogotsi said P230 million has been allocated for the Heritage Development in NDP11 which also include the Ivory Museum in Gaborone, 20 District Monuments which were approved by cabinet in October 2017, refurbishment of permanent exhibition at DNMM Head Quarters in Gaborone, and refurbishment of exhibitions at Community Museums.


The Ivory Museum will also be a specialised Museum within the Natural History Centre, the Botanical Garden in Village. The objective of the project is to preserve Botswana’s bio-diversity and showcase the story of African Elephant, Mogotsi has said. The proposed developments include a reception area, exhibition halls, offices, laboratories, boardroom room, store rooms and a library. The project will be done in two phases with Phase one entailing the undertaking of a management plan, pre-development studies and Architectural designs for the project. The second phase will entail construction and completion of the project.


The 20 heritage sites which will be developed in NDP11, Mogotsi said they will grow the economy and diversify the tourism product. Development will include access roads, electricity, and water connectivity while basic infrastructure will include interpretation centres, exhibitions, offices, ablutions, campsites, staff accommodation, furniture and vehicles. The Deputy Director noted that the Development of heritage trails will also provide linkages of heritage sites with other facilities of interest.


“There are over 2,500 recorded heritage sites access was developed at only 100 heritage sites through Ipelegeng in NDP10, five gatehouses at Tsodilo, Mogonye, Gcwihaba, Domboshaba and Kolobeng. Access roads, ablutions and campsites were developed at over 100 Sites and 70 custodians at some of the sites,” revealed Mogotsi.


Refurbishment of Permanent Exhibition at Head Quarters project entails refurbishing of the permanent exhibition.  Mogotsi revealed that a consultant will be engaged in September 2018 to start work on storyline and designs for the exhibition. A new interactive multimedia exhibition to appeal to wider audience will also be introduced as part of the project.


“The scope includes architectural modification of the exterior space and once complete the National Museum will attract more tourists and general public especially school children,” said Mogotsi. The Refurbishment of Exhibitions at Community Museums project will assess heritage collections and improve exhibitions at seven Community Museums namely Bathoen II Museum, Kgari Sechele II Museum, Phuthadikobo Museum, Khama III Museum, Supa Ngwao, Nhabe and Kuru Museums.


The project also entails conducting a study to improve collection management and determine appropriate facilities for exhibitions, refurbishing of exhibition facilities and building of new gallery spaces for museums which may require additional exhibition space. He revealed also that his Department is conducting consultations to identify stakeholders or individuals who are affected or likely to be affected by the projects and who may have an interest in these projects such District Councils, Local Authorities, the Private Sector and communities.


“We are conducting meetings with stakeholders to inform them about the DNMM projects as well as obtaining input from stakeholders for ownership,” he said. Mogotsi stated that DNMM will engage a consultancy to conduct feasibility studies to assess the practicality of each project, determine products and services, establish economic and social benefits, identify linkages, and outline activities to ensure project results as well as assessing the sustainability of the proposed projects.

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