In fulfilment of our vision, the Trust will oversee and administer several key projects in archaeology, research, and education in partnership with national and International institutions.
However, the Trust intends to focus on three major activities over the course of the next couple of years.
Edo Museum of West African Arts
EMOWAA is the Edo Museum of West Africa Art, being developed to house West African art and artefacts and which will have the ‘Royal Collection’ as its jewel crown, the most comprehensive display in the world of Benin collection.
Adjaye Associates, led by Sir David Adjaye, have been appointed to undertake the initial concept and urban planning work on the new museum, and to assist in the assembly of a team of professionals in Nigeria.The architectural vision is to use archaeology as a means of connecting the new museum into the surrounding landscape, by revitalizing and incorporating the surviving remains of the walls, moats and gates of the historic city, seen throughout the modern city today. The museum project also recognizes the huge importance of the archaeological remains still preserved below the ground. The digging of the museum’s foundations will require careful excavations to prepare the site for the new museum building. The excavation of the site may reveal evidence of historic buildings which may be retained in their original position to become part of the visitor experience of the new museum
LRT is providing a local coordinating role with a view to supporting local research and infrastructural requirements of the project. A group of 18 international experts from Nigeria, the UK, the US, Sweden, the Netherlands, France and Germany discussed the project’s goals and challenges at the Museum am Rothenbaum in Hamburg in October 2019 and laid the conceptual foundation for the project. The Project started in October 2020 and is funded by the German Foundation Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung .
EMOWAA Archaeology Project
In readiness for the establishment of EMOWAA, LRT will work together with a range of Nigerian researchers and academic institutions, the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, the British Museum, and Adjaye Associates to carry out a comprehensive archaeological programme in Benin City. The Legacy Restoration Trust in partnership with the British Museum has secured the equivalent of $4 million of funding to enable this archaeological programme, including a major grant made by an anonymous donor.
The archaeology project will commence in 2021 and will be completed to enable the timely construction of the museum. Initial works will involve surveys of the museum site and the wider surroundings (including LIDAR and geophysical surveys), to understand more fully the buried archaeological remains and to help target excavations. A range of workshops, talks and other events will be delivered throughout the project. Digital content and outputs will be developed from the beginning of the project, presented both through project and partner websites and social media.
A central focus of the archaeological project will be essential works on the proposed site of EMOWAA, to preserve and record historical remains buried beneath the ground in advance of construction.
Working closely together with and alongside the archaeological research will be a Historic Restoration initiative which involves the highlighting and showcasing of historical aspects of the city through restoration of aspects of the earthworks and historic monuments, and a pedestrianisation and linear park that allows visitors to experience the history of the ancient city.
The archaeology and historic restoration project will be delivered with the co-operation of the local communities and in coordination with the Edo State government and Adjaye Associates, and local urban planning firms. It is envisaged that this project will provide employment, and training opportunities for the youth in Nigeria. It will also provide new information and collections that will inform curatorial narratives and future displays of the new institution. Together, this work can help set the groundwork to enable the city to become a major visitor attraction in Nigeria.