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Igniting scholarship, education and creativity

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Beyond its impressive collection of artefacts, EMOWAA will be an ever-growing repository of indigenous knowledge on Benin and African heritage. Its expansive physical archive and digital library will stock and enable public access to objects, oral histories, photography and other resources critical to recontextualise the story of these great civilisations.


Located in the heart of the thousand-year-old Benin City, EMOWAA will serve as a model and facilitator for responsible heritage management with best practices in collection, preservation, restoration, and museum building globally. In the wider creative district, EMOWAA will create economic opportunities for creative professionals with a focus on skills, collaboration and links to real markets.



EMOWAA will provide access to the technology and research capacity for archaeology and materials science study. Its annual research programmes and workshops will sustainably attract the best creatives and thinkers, equipping them with relevant skills for application across a wide array of sectors. 


With world-class exhibition spaces and digital platforms, EMOWAA will exhibit the world’s most comprehensive collection of West African antiquities, displaying them in their historic and social contexts. Combined with outreach and high quality publications, EMOWAA’s initiatives will deepen public appreciation of the place of African heritage in global culture.


One of the greatest challenges for museums and heritage institutions in Africa is relevancy and connection to contemporary African society. We need to build institutions and infrastructure that celebrate the rich traditions of the past. At the same time, we must support skill sets and knowledge that enable opportunities in the present. 


The restitution of heritage objects to Africa from the West is not just an opportunity to reinvigorate cultural infrastructure and heritage. It is the push to re-imagine the role of museums and transform their connections to and support for the contemporary creative. That is what EMOWAA is about.  This is why we are here.

— Phillip Ihenacho, Executive Director

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