Mr. Akatani’s yardstick

National Museum lectures, 1969-1970

We found this passage in a lecture given at the National Museum of Ghana in 1970. The lecturer was a Mr Ken Akatani, then director of the UN Information Centre in Accra.

“Wherever I travel these days, if I can set aside a few hours I try to do two things. One is to visit the museum and the other is to see the botanical gardens.

By seeing the botanical gardens, I not only enjoy and taste the beauty of the gardens themselves, but I try to sense the love the people have for their nature and the environment.

These are yardsticks which have served me very faithfully in assessing the qualities of the peoples I have visited.”

We’re not sure what conclusions Mr Akatani would draw from the official gardens of Accra – Aburi, Legon or Efua Sutherland Park – today. But if they disappointed him, we hope our plans, or some of the private gardens of our supporters, would renew his faith.

As for the National Museum itself, he would no doubt be encouraged to see groups like Friends of the National Museum and Adventurers in the Diaspora campaigning to keep it on the agenda of the government and the public alike.

The text can be found in an original booklet of 1969 and 1970 lectures given at the museum, issued by the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board and printed by Accra Catholic Press. Among other pieces, it also contains an interesting essay on beads and a history of Ghanaian urbanism.

A small number of copies are available in the museum shop at five cedis a copy – which is one more reason to pay the institution a visit.

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