“Archaeology in Senegal” Exhibit – Cheikh Anta Diop University wants to democratize archaeology

“Archaeology in Senegal” Exhibit – Cheikh Anta Diop University wants to democratize archaeology

Starting on February 3rd, 2022, the Cultural Engineering and Anthropology Research Unit (URICA) (https://URICA.org/) of Cheikh Anta Diop University will present a major banner exhibition, Archaeology in Senegal (https://bit.ly/32SSwJA), which highlights the significance of archaeology in Senegal’s historical and cultural understanding.

The West African Research Center (WARC) is hosting the nine-banner exhibition – the first of its kind in Senegal – that highlights how archaeology serves as a bridge between the past and the present. The exhibition explains how material culture contributes to understanding the values, experiences and complexity of Senegal’s past. It explores several of Senegal’s many locations for archaeological discovery and brings to life some of Senegal’s most important archaeological treasures.

Archaeology in Senegal is the result of a partnership between URICA, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) Office of Strategic Partnerships and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), with support from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.

The bilingual French and Wolof banners are described by Dr. Ibrahima Thiaw, Professor of Archaeology at Cheikh Anta Diop University and Director of the Cultural Engineering and Anthropology Research Unit “as a major step in democratizing archaeology.” He added, “We are committed to helping Senegalese students and teachers see archaeology in practice, this banner exhibition helps to connect Senegalese children to their history in a visually appealing and easily accessible way.”

Dr. Ibrahima Thiaw has been at the forefront of efforts to build the first Anthropology doctoral program in Senegal. The Office of Strategic Partnerships has supported the program by providing resources to successfully digitize historical records, support cataloging and collections management and train graduate students in underwater archaeology as participating researchers in the NMAAHC-led Slave Wrecks Project. Dr. Deborah Mack, NMAAHC Associate Director for Strategic Partnerships said “The URICA doctoral program is exemplary in its 21st century scholarship and academic rigor that is coupled with public service to its communities and to the nation. This multi-year partnership between our institutions has produced measurable and tangible results, and we are delighted to continue this collaboration in expanded ways.”

Archaeology in Senegal has also partnered with the Senegalese children’s museum, ImagiNation Afrika which works toward the development of the whole child by creating child-centered public spaces. ImagiNation Afrika has facilitated a series of training workshops and developed instructional videos for teachers and  curriculum inspectors from the Senegalese public school system. The collateral developed by ImagiNation Afrika is designed to help educators engage young learners in their understanding and appreciation of archaeology in Senegal.

About URICA:
The Cultural Engineering and Anthropology Research Unit (URICA) is a laboratory of the ETHOS doctoral school and housed at IFAN Cheikh Anta Diop. URICA is an ambitious doctoral training program that reimagines the role of anthropology, using education and research as the keystone to support the positive transformation of 21st century Africa, and that prepares the next generation to build new perspectives and way of thinking in service of the African tomorrow. For more information, please visit: URICA@ucad.edu.sn.

About the National Museum of African American History and Culture:
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history. Established by an Act of Congress in 2003, the nearly 400,000-square-foot museum is prominently located next to the Washington Monument and is the culmination of decades of efforts to establish a national museum that promotes and highlights the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected close to 37,000 objects and nearly 170,000 individuals have become charter members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution. For more information, please visit: https://s.si.edu/35BCvc0.

About SITES:
SITES—the oldest traveling exhibition operation in the world—is the Smithsonian Institution’s main exhibits ambassador beyond Washington, D.C. For more than 65 years, the organization has traveled approximately 40 exhibitions annually to hundreds of U.S. cities and towns from coast to coast, where they are viewed by millions of people, For more information please visit https://s.si.edu/3gmNAQg.

About ImagiNation Afrika:
ImagiNation Afrika, created in Senegal in 2011, gives African children the tools to become changemakers. ImagiNation Afrika works for the development of the whole child by creating child-centered public spaces, partnering with institutions that nourish child development and by accompanying parents and communities, ultimately building an ecosystem that allows children to thrive and lead in the 21st century. Please click (https://bit.ly/3uvkaHU) here for more information.

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