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National Museum Celebrates Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation Award

November 22, 2011
Ambassador James F. Entwistle inspects a wooden mask from the Museum’s collection. (State Dept. Images)

Ambassador James F. Entwistle inspects a wooden mask from the Museum’s collection. (State Dept. Images)

On November 22nd, Ambassador James F. Entwistle visited the Democratic Republic of Congo’s National Institute of Museums for the signing of an Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) grant. During his visit, Ambassador Entwistle toured the museum’s collections, libraries and restoration facilities.

“I, personally, can think of few sites in the DRC that are more important to its sense of culture than the National Institute of Museums here at Mont Ngaliema,” the Ambassador said.  “In essence, this facility serves as the repository of much of this country’s history—both its moments of grandeur and of suffering."

Since its creation by the U.S. Congress, the AFCP has supported more than 640 cultural preservation projects in more than 100 countries.  In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Ambassador’s Fund has supported projects at the Institute’s National Ethnological Museum and the University of Kinshasa, among other institutions, to protect their collections and to preserve Congolese culture. The fund has also sponsored efforts to preserve the traditional music of the Pygmy people.

This year’s recipient, the National Museum Institute of the Congo, was given a grant of $24,500 to renovate the institution’s Annex E and to preserve and store the objects contained within.

“By granting once again to the National Museum, we are demonstrating our commitment to helping [the museum’s staff and leadership]… realize this institution’s potential,” the Ambassador added, “so that, one day, it might take its rightful place as the centerpiece of this nation’s historical consciousness, as a site of pilgrimage for all Congolese who wish to pause and celebrate their rich cultural heritage.”