Libraries, Archives, and Museums

Authored by: Shiferaw Assefa

Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, Fourth Edition

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781466552593
eBook ISBN: 9781315116143
Adobe ISBN:


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This entry explores the historical development of the national, public, academic school and special libraries, museums and galleries in Ethiopia. The country's effort to collect and preserve its documentary heritage started during the Aksumite period (fourth to eighth century a.d.) and continued informally until the National Library was established in 1944. Since then, public and other types of libraries have been established and modestly expanded in the country. In addition, the collection and preservation of cultural objects and the development of museums and galleries goes back to the same Aksumite period when churches and monasteries served as custodians and preservers of these objects. The growth of museums and galleries can initially be attributed to the interest demonstrated for Ethiopian cultural and historical objects by foreigners who came to Ethiopia and to the archaeological discoveries carried out by different expeditions during the time of Menelik II (1889–1913) and thereafter. Since then, there has been a fairly slow growth of museums and galleries in the country as a result of an acute shortage of financial resources and trained manpower.

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