Heritage Education Quiz
Since 1994 the Service has annually held a nationwide quiz competition for primary schools. Each Heritage Education Officer administers the quiz in his/her region, from the setting of questions to their distribution to the various clusters within that region up to the selection of the team to represent that region at the National Competition, which is held annually on the International Museums Day, (18 May). The quiz covers five areas, namely, The Past, Heritage Conservation, Science and Nature, The Environment and General Knowledge.
The National Museums and Monuments organization has put in place such an attractive reward system that the competition is now very popular with schools all over the country. The competition has been made even more lucrative by the kind sponsorship from the corporate world and the current sponsors are Highveld Financial Services (Pvt) Ltd. It is also strongly supported by the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture. It is an outreach drive that is intended to make children more aware of the museum world and its connectedness with the formal educational syllabi.
The Mobile Museum
Realizing the African reality that the majority of children in the rural areas might never have the capacity to visit a museum in their lifetime, The Heritage Education Service has put in place a mobile exhibition programme in each region that takes the museum to those disadvantaged children and communities. Each Education Officer has built a touch collection of artefacts and specimens that he/she takes to rural schools for exhibition at cluster centres. Surrounding schools then converge at the centre to view the exhibition. The touch collection attempts as much as possible to reflect research themes at the various national museums - themes like archaeology, ethnography, geology, natural sciences, antiquities, militaria and mining antiquaria. After the exhibition, children should be able explain what to expect in a museum. Parents and school leavers are also invited to the exhibition.
This programme runs concurrently with the Mobile Museum and seeks to identify heritage sites close to schools for the purposes of recording and investigation by archaeologists. The ultimate aim is a conservation strategy whose objective is to make those schools adopt the sites and protect them from avoidable damage that may occur due to vandalism.
The Heritage Education Service also operates Museum Clubs at various schools both in urban and rural areas as another outreach effort. Schools are encouraged to make collections of objects that they find curious and inform the Education Officer who then arranges for their identification and interpretation by museum experts. Artefacts that are collected range from ethnographic objects and antiquities to specimens of rocks and even bones and shells. These form the basis of the museum and may be housed in a corner in the classroom or a cultural house. The aim of this exercise is to create a museum culture in pupils and encourage research.
Museum Friendship Associations
The Education Officer also coordinates the activities of the Museum Friendship Association in his/her region. Membership to the association is extended to members of the public who are interested in the goings-on at the museum. Members subscribe annually and are given seasonal tickets, which accord them free entry into any of the institutions under National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe. The aim of this exercise is to seek public involvement and give the community a say on what the museum should offer to that community.