Nigeria’s largest private art collector, Yemisi Shyllon, has advised LEGACY 1995, a non-governmental group managing the Nigerian Railway Museum, to ensure proper preservation of the historical heritage site.
Shyllon who expressed displeasure over the state of the railway relics and artefacts, gave the advice during his visit to the museum in Lagos.
He said the group must promptly engage professionals to assist in repositioning the museum to be able to attract tourists.
According to him, this is important due to the recent executive order signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, giving states the absolute right to operate their railway autonomously.
He said with this, the history of railway in Nigeria would be a germane one after sometimes in the history of the nation.
He lamented over the rate at which the relics in the museum were being affected by the environment, leaving them dusty and unkept.
According to him, a lot has to be done to ensure proper preservation of the relics as well as the entire edifice as he also observed the wooden floors in deplorable condition.
”This museum needs urgent intervention of corporate entities, a lot must be done to reposition this place to woo tourists.
”Proper documentation of historical facts here is important, all the relics and artefacts must be properly documented and not what we currently have.
”You have to set up a working committee on strategic planning to help define your vision and mission, also an abstract on the history of the museum must be made available to visitors.
”Your objectives must also be spelt out clearly, then draw up your programmes that will actualise your plans.
” Also, there should be a sequential flow of history which could be individually read by visitors upon arrival at the museum, this is to keep themselves informed on the essence of the museum without a tour guide,” he said.
Shyllon further advised the group to come up with the publication of the history of the museum on little pamphlets which could be given to visitors as souvenirs that could improve their knowledge on the historical site.
According to reports the Nigerian Railway Museum is located at Ebute-Metta, right in Jaekel House.
It is a two-storey colonial mansion, built in 1898 and named after the late Francis Jaekel OBE, a former superintendent of the Nigerian Railway Corporation.
The museum is meant to preserve the historical building, treasures and monuments that the railway compound had become for Nigerians and non-Nigerians.
It accommodates objects, pictures, documents and other related materials of railway history in Nigeria.
Also Dr Matthew Gansallo, a Curator and Museologist, who explored the museum, said it was high time Nigeria took museology seriously.
He advised that the building of the museum should not be tampered with but properly maintained to attract tourists who want to see things the way they were years ago.
He said the LEGACY group must be prepared to work on advocacy, projecting the museum on various existing social media platforms.
According to him, this will spur tourists to visit the heritage site.
He also called for the need for frequent exhibitions, for public viewing of the relics and also educational outreach programmes to schools should be upscaled to encourage schools to visit the site.
Representing the President of LEGACY 1995, Sonja Ally, Taiye Olaniyi, Vice President of the group, said a lot had been benefitted from the wealth of knowledge of the art collector and Curator.
He promised that the group would further cross fertilize ideas and ensure that every piece of advice rendered would be acted upon.
”We will continue to seek your assistance as professionals in this field, we really appreciate the visit
”We will subject ourselves to further training and retraining to ensure this historical heritage site is improved upon.” he said.