MSU Museum hosts Pumeza Mandela for residency
EAST LANSING, Mich. — As part of an ongoing partnership between the Michigan State University Museum and the Nelson Mandela Museum, the great niece of civil rights leader Nelson Mandela will be on campus through October for a residency designed to enhance museum education in South Africa.
Pumeza Mandela is manager of education, programs, material development and outreach at the Nelson Mandela Museum in Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.
While on campus, she will take part in museum studies courses and present a lecture in the African Studies Brown Bag Series. In addition, Mandela will study the MSU Library’s Africana Collections and the MSU Museum’s South African collections for her master’s thesis.
At the same time, Mandela will expand her experiences in curatorial practices, collections management, education and programming, said C. Kurt Dewhurst, MSU Museum curator of folk life and cultural heritage. While in the U.S., Mandela will visit museums in New York and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
“We are honored to host Pumeza Mandela and are excited about the learning and engagement that will happen, both in advancing her studies and in making new connections across a number of areas of study at MSU,” said Dewhurst, who is also director of arts and cultural initiatives at MSU.
“We hope this will become an annual opportunity to host a colleague from the Nelson Mandela Museum as part of his or her professional development and to foster more collaborative projects between our two museums.”
Dewhurst added that Mandela is particularly interested in the application of new technology in museums, strategies to enhance interactive learning and museum evaluation. She’ll also be studying the MSU Museum’s traveling exhibition program.
“I am looking forward to learning more about how the MSU Museum is linked to community and academic life,” Mandela said. “This will be an opportunity to deepen the partnership between the MSU Museum and the Nelson Mandela Museum.”
Mandela’s visit coincides with an exhibition jointly developed by the Mandela Museum and the MSU Museum, “Dear Mr. Mandela, Dear Mrs. Parks: Children’s Letters, Global Lessons,” which debuted in South Africa in 2008. A companion exhibit is on display in the MSU Museum’s Main Gallery through the end of the year, before it tours other museums and learning centers in the United States beginning in 2011.
“Pumeza brings considerable experience in developing educational programs that respond to community needs across South Africa,” Dewhurst said. “Clearly, there is much to be learned about the life of Nelson Mandela and his remarkable contributions to democracy, human rights, peace and freedom. Pumeza will help share this story and explain how these lessons apply to our lives today and in the future.”
In 2008, MSU established the Nelson Mandela Museum/Michigan State University Museum Curatorial Fellowship Program. Also, in 2008 Nelson Mandela received an honorary doctorate of laws from MSU in 2008.
Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 17 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.