Cultural identity is a pillar of development. Museums and Galleries attract hundreds of thousands of tourists from different parts of the world to boost the economy of a nation. They preserve and display culture, identity, innovations, and civilizations of nations to the world and promote creativities with artefacts, documents, arts, portraits, descriptions, and data they retain. They are educative.
In Ethiopia, the arts of museum and gallery are neither well developed nor scientifically informed. Ethiopian National Museum and the Museum of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies are artefactaully inadequate to represent the immensely rich traditions and cultures of diversified nations and nationalities. Especially, the Oromoo are the majority of these but underrepresented. Only Wollega Museum has a good display of important artefacts and history from the vicinity. Jimma Museum tilts more towards the elite or high class culture reflecting the interactions between the monarchs. The recently started Oromoo Museum at Oromoo Cultural Centre in Finfinnee lacks scientific organizations. Museum and gallery are also narrowly linked to academic programmes and disciplines in Ethiopian higher education system.
The Museum and Gallery of the Institute of Oromoo Studies (IOS) envisions establishing ethnographic museum and gallery supporting with scientific ideas of the fields. It aims to portray ordinary Oromoo lives and the interactions and co-existences of the different ethnic and linguistic groups with Oromoo and how cultures and traditions historically facilitate for this. The collections and organizations will be informed and supported by modern ideas of museology and its science. The groups participate in its establishment, organization, promotion and education.
The Museum and Gallery of the Institute of Oromoo Studies (IOS) of Jimma University is mandated to devise the means to collect, describe, document, register, and display key and representative artefacts, photos, portraits, microfiche and microfilm documents, video and audio-records of ethnographies to demonstrate civilizations, creativities, traditions, innovations, cultures and their performance events to make them part of the educational programmes.
The Museum and Gallery of the Institute of Oromoo Studies (IOS) of Jimma University strives to promote research and education in the areas. It aims to contribute to making Jimma tourist attraction hub of the southwestern part of Ethiopia with its natural and manmade provisions like the natural environment, the cradle of coffee plant, the Abbaa Jifaar Palace, Jimma Museum, the diverse ethnic, ethnographic, and other cultural and natural provisions.
It believes in community participations to realize its visions in the establishment, promotion, use and sustainability. It seeks collaborations with national and international institutions having similar missions, visions and interests.
PROFILE OF THE HEAD
Dereje Fufa Bidu, the head of the Museum and Gallery of the Institute of Oromoo Studies, has Ph. D. in anthropology and has taught folklore, literature and language at the university and beyond to acquire knowledge, experiences, and skills in these fields interacting with students, indigenous and scientific communities to teach and collect data, present research works and get funds. Dereje has ample experiences in developing curricula for undergraduate and graduate programmes, short and long term training programmes and proposals for various new projects. He has also served as head of department at the university and stream coordinator at college. Before joining Jimma University, Dereje has taught at secondary schools and Jimma Teachers’ College. Currently he teaches at graduate and postgraduate levels, undertakes fieldworks among different community groups to conduct research in anthropology, folklore, literature, and presents study results at workshops and conferences nationally and internationally. We believe these enable him to take the Museum and Gallery of the Institute of Oromoo Studies to its ultimate goals.