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Building a Dream: Making a Museum of Namibian Fashion

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Museums are the custodians of our cultural heritage. The Museums Association of Namibia (MAN) believes that one of the important reasons why we should preserve artifacts is because their meaning and design can inspire young Namibians working in the creative industries. It was for this reason that MAN recently held a stakeholders’ workshop to discuss the concept of establishing a `Museum of Namibian Fashion’. A competition has also been launched to design a logo for the new museum. The successful designer will win a stay at a Lodge sponsored by the Gondwana Collection and a Safari Sweater and Card Holder sponsored Couture by Kim.

The idea is that the museum will provide an opportunity for visitors to view historical items of clothing and accessories, as well as contemporary designs inspired by Namibia’s rich history and cultural diversity. MAN is currently working in partnership with the National Museum of Namibia and the University of Namibia on a project funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation and one component of the project is the development of an exhibition on clothing. MAN is currently seeking a partnership to secure a building that can be used to house the museum, but, in the meantime, is exploring the option of a `virtual museum’. The web site would enable visitors to view items, but also to interact with them by adding comments as well as submitting photographs for possible display in the virtual museum. Ndapewoshali Ashipala from MAN said “We believe that in these times of corona we have to do things differently. A virtual museum of fashion could created an interactive educational space where we can also showcase Namibian culture to international audiences”.

The workshop produced some lively discussions about the definition of `Namibian Fashion’ which will be important to determine the scope of the museum. Participants also urged collaboration with archaeologists and rock art specialists so that the `pre-photography’ history of Namibian clothing can be included in the museum. MAN is planning a future workshop where fashion designers will be invited to view historical artifacts from museum collections and historical photographs of clothing from the nineteenth century. If you have an item or photograph that you think should be part of the collection of the Museum of Namibian Fashion than you can contact MAN on or 061-302230. Further information about the logo competition can also be found on the Facebook site of the Museums Association of Namibia and their other social media.

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Monday, 30 November 2020

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