Museum gets buildup

2015-09-15 06:00
A new management plan aims to boost maintenance of museums in heritage buildings, like the Bo-Kaap museum.

nicole mccain

A new management plan aims to boost maintenance of museums in heritage buildings, like the Bo-Kaap museum. PHOTO: nicole mccain

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A plan is being developed by Iziko Mu­seum­s of South Africa to care for its heritage and other buildings.

The plan will enable the organisation to prioritise the maintenance of its buildings, says Iziko spokesperson Melody Kleinsmith.

“Iziko will initiate the tender process for the conservation and maintenance plan,” she says.

The plan is hoped to boost care of heritage properties, such as the Bo-Kaap museum. This comes on the heels of recent social media reports that the building is falling into disrepair, with peeling paint and plaster clearly visible on the building exterior.

The earliest development of the Bo-Kaap area was undertaken by Jan de Waal in the 1760s.

The house that today incorporates the museum is the only one built by him that still has its original form.

The Bo-Kaap museum was established in 1978. It was furnished as a house that depicted the lifestyle of a nineteenth century Muslim family and showcased local Islamic culture and heritage.
The museum now reflects various aspects of the history of the Bo-Kaap area and Cape Town.

But Bo-Kaap Civic Association chairperson Osman Shaboodien believes the building needs to be more a part of the community, which will see locals taking better care of it.

“The museum doesn’t reflect the community. It needs to be more accessible and there needs to be a better relationship with the community so that they will take ownership,” he says.
“It’s not just a building. It’s part of the character of the community. If the museum is in a state of disrepair, it affects the whole community.”
The Iziko social history department held a series of dialogues and a number of workshops and seminars to reach out to the public, Kleinsmith explains, and in the future hopes to allow people to share their stories.

But the building’s heritage value makes any maintenance a challenge, Kleinsmith says, and there is little the community is able to do to help.

“Maintaining heritage buildings is a very complex and costly procedure. Major repairs and maintenance, particularly of the exteriors of the museums, require expert knowledge, special considerations and sensitivity.
“Routine maintenance is carried out by the Iziko maintenance team on a daily basis. However, the team may not paint heritage buildings as this requires a specialist architect to oversee contractors with the necessary expertise and experience to paint heritage buildings, such as the Bo-Kaap Museum.”

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