MuseumFutures Africa is a people-centered cultural project focussed on museums. It began with a focus on Africa, and expanded its reach to museums across the Global South, with the intention to test, explore and study potentials for new formats of Southern museology.

Study Groups
Arna Jharna Thar Desert Museum
The Conflictorium
Mutare Museum
MajiMaji Museum
Acervo de Laje
Museu Mafalala
Exchanges 2023
Musée National de Guinée
National Museums of Kenya
Steve Biko Centre
Uganda Museum
Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art
Musée Théodore Monod
Exchanges 2021-2
Towards a depiction of ... the experimental / colonial museum
MFA publication 2022
Curriculum 2023
Curriculum 2021
Notes toward a proposal

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MuseumFutures is supported by the     Goethe-Institut

Study Groups

Museum Futures Southern Museology’s aimed to nurture an imaginative collective process driven by 6 different museums in Africa, India and Brazil. Scroll down or use the menu for an overview of each museum, some of their core institutional concerns, their study groups, and a custom illustration by Kampala-based artist Charity Atukunda.

Arna Jharna: Thar Desert Museum

Illustration by Charity Atukunda, 2023.
Arna Jharna: The Thar Desert Museum was established in 2000 and was envisioned by Komal Kothari, a renowned folklorist and ethnomusicologist, to exhibit and bring about public engagement with the folk culture and oral traditions he had spent his life documenting in Rajasthan, India. Kothari waited until he found the perfect spot, Arna Jharna (‘forest and spring’), in the village of Moklawas, about 15 kilometres from Jodhpur city. The Arna Jharna Thar Desert Museum, perching upon the edge of the Aravali Mountain range as it descends to the plain of the Thar desert, highlights the beauty of the geographical diversity of Rajasthan. The 10 acres of the museum site is surrounded by protected forest areas, sacred spots and waterbodies, and is a haven for desert flora and fauna. In keeping with Kothari’s vision for a ‘living museum’, apart from the collection, all aspects of biodiversity, geology and water-harvesting associated with the museum site are part of an interactive learning process—the outside and inside of the museum are interrelated. Marked by a devotion to the natural and organic resources of Rajasthan, the museum pays tribute to the local communities and their local foundations of knowledge, art and culture, which is not a thing of the past, but a resource for rebuilding the present.

The study group of the Arna Jharna museum worked towards an exhibition about regionally specific pottery. The impetus for this project came out of community consultations and research by the study group. The study group consists of the head of the museum and numerous young researchers as well as local villagers. Study group member Kritika Rathore shared the following compelling insights that emerged from the fieldwork: “Arna Jharna Museum delves into the traditional lifestyles of rural Rajasthani communities and their deep connection with the natural environment. Collaborating with various occupational groups, including musicians, puppeteers, broom makers, and potters, we aim to understand their art and adaptability in response to changing circumstances”.

Study group members
Mr. Kuldeep Kothari Project Head and head of the museum, Mr. Kuldeep Singh Project Assistant, Archivist and research manager, Mr. Rajendra Jain Project Accounts Manager
Ms. Shreya Jaiswal Research Assistant and Curator (background in English Literature and Anthropology), Ms. Kritika Rathore Research Assistant and Curator (background in Literature and publishing), Ms. Lakshita Chahar Research Assistant (background in History)
Mr. Narpat Singh Rathore Museum Caretaker, Mr. Durga Ram Devasi Museum Assistant, Gomati Devi Museum Assistant, Mr. Bheru Lal Pottery maker, Mr. Razak Khan Pottery maker, Mr. Jeetu Koli Broom maker, Mr. Prem Bhat & his son Mr. Suresh Bhat Puppet maker and player, Mr. Safi Khan Langa Folk Musician