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Museum of the Institute

A separate museum building was part of the original plan of the Institute; hence the Institute has been collecting traditional and contemporary arts and artefacts since its establishment in 1962. At present, the ethnographic materials and traditional art objects in the Institute's collection are well over a thousand. Most of the objects are largely from Nigeria and other African countries, including Mali, the Ivory Coast, and the Cameroons, which have historical connections with Nigeria.

The contemporary artworks held in the Museum of the Institute are by Nigerian artists. This collection began in the early sixties when the Mbari experiments and workshops both at Ibadan and Osogbo were going on. The Institute took advantage of this and now has the largest collection of works from the workshops in Nigeria.

Since there was no museum building, these objects were kept in a store until 1984 when the ground floor of the back section of the Institute's building was converted into a gallery, a workroom and a store—in effect a museum.

The formal opening of the museum on September 11, 1984 was performed by His Royal Highness Omo N'Oba N'Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Erediauwa I, the Oba of Benin, who also commissioned a photographic exhibition of Benin antiquities, notably, the famous bronzes looted during the British expedition of 1897. Titled 'The Lost Treasures of Benin', the exhibition featured scenes from the expedition. The museum is now fully operational and is open to the public during office hours. The objects in the museum collection are exhibited from time to time. Contemporary Nigerian artists are encouraged to exhibit their works and also, on agreement, other bodies and artists come to exhibit artworks from places outside Nigeria.

The Museum of the Institute has also established the tradition of organizing the Convocation Exhibition as an integral part of the University's Convocation programme. To this end, every year, the works of a renowned artist are mounted for a period in the gallery. The Convocation Exhibition marks the end of the Museum's calendar.

The Museum of the Institute also has a lecture room which is used for seminars and workshops. Plans are advanced to rename the Museum of the Institute after Prof Cornelius 0. Adepegba, whose contribution to the study of African Visual Arts and Art History is world-renowned.

Odinani Museum, Nri, Anambra State

The Odinani Museum at Nri is Anambra State was established on March 18, 1972 by the Institute in a hall donated to it by the people of Nri town, represented by the Nri Progressive Union. Plans are being vigorously pursued to establish a similar museum in the main porch of the Oyo palace.