History of Henriette Bathily Museum

The Consortium de Communications Audiovisuelles en Afrique (CCA) believed that museums were places for multifaceted communication about the reference objects of civilization. It wanted to make a contribution to the defence, illustration, preservation, promotion and dissemination of Senegal’s cultural heritage and thus took the initiative to establish a Senegalese women’s museum. The CCA named the museum after Henriette Bathily, a well-known communicator and figure in the world of culture.

Annette Mbaye d’Erneville, Director of the CCA, Adama Cissé Wélé and the filmmaker Ousmane William Mbaye, supported by the Senegalese government, the Embassy of Canada and a number of Senegalese, African and foreign partner organizations helped to make the Musée de la Femme "Henriette Bathily" a reality. It is the first museum of its kind in Africa

Located on the island of Gorée, at the corner of Saint-Germain and Malavois Streets, the Musée de la Femme "Henriette Bathily" has occupied a house built in 1777 by a rich "signare", Victoria Albis, since its inauguration on June 17, 1994.

The main purpose of the Musée de la Femme "Henriette Bathily" is to promote interest at home and abroad in the way Senegalese society is organized and to make Senegal better known through the role that Senegalese women play in the community, in rituals and in popular and traditional art.

The museum is organized around five exhibition halls that display objects by means of which visitors can delve into the diverse reality of the domestic, political, cultural and religious lives of Senegalese women.

The museum has an audiovisual room, a boutique, a garden cafe and soon an "Espace Culturel et Artisanat" (E.C.A.) that will enable groups of women from all regions and ethnic backgrounds to work at the museum and demonstrate their wide knowledge to visitors. The E.C.A. will also provide women with education and training in literacy, civil education, environmental conservation and health education and help them to learn handicraft techniques. Also in the planning stage is a documentation and specialized library service that is intended to provide a public databank and make the museum a genuine research centre.

The Senegal Musée de la Femme is an educational and cultural organization that must also strive to become a socio-economic agency serving both as a communications focus and a centre of activity that will generate income for women.
Musée de la Femme "Henriette Bathily"
Canadian Heritage Information Network

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