Resurrecting cultural objects and artefacts in a museum space: The indispensable roles of museum theatre in palace museums in Ghana
Dickson Adom, Emmanuel Jewel Peprah Mensah & Gloria Esi Kportufe (2023)
Palace museums and shrine houses play a crucial role in reconstructing the histories and cultures of people in specific communities. In a broader perspective, palace museums and shrine houses recount the origin, identity, economic and warfare prowess as well as the material culture of a people (Shalima, 2019). Shrine houses are typical to many indigenous Ghanaian communities. However, due to the inter-ethnic wars and the captivation of kingdoms in the colonial era as well as the influx of Christianity, Islam and other foreign religions, most of these shrines are non-existent (Agbiji & Swart, 2015). For instance, in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, there are about ten (10) of these shrines scattered across the region that have been refurbished and inscribed to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage List. Besease, Adwinase (Patakro Bonsam), Asawase, Adako Jachie, Bodwease, Abirim, Kentinkrono, Saaman, Asenemanso and Kenyasi Tano Shrines have preserved the spiritual embodiments of these people. The Tano god, according to oral history, is the most revered god among the Asante people, hence a Tano Shrine was found in every community in the Asante Kingdom of Ghana. This is typical in the case of Bodwease where both the shrine and palace museum are opened to visitors. These shrines were believed to inhabit potent spiritual powers and were held in high esteem as well as revered in these communities. They served as a spiritual backbone for the chiefs, hence, these shrine houses are situated close to the palaces of these towns.