The National Museum and its collections
The history of the National Museum of Mali can be traced Back to colonial times. It is closely linked to the history of the Institut Français d'Afrique Noire or IFAN (French Institute for Black Africa), created in Dakar in 1936 with a mandate for developing research in the colonized territories. The creation of a local branch of the IFAN in the French Sudan in 1951, gave rise to the foundation of the Museum, first called the Sudanese Museum of the IFAN. Built of stabilized "banco" and inaugurated in 1982, the present building housing the Museum is inspired by traditional architectural forms. The exhibition halls are on one side and on the administrative and technical services are on the other.
Today the National Museum has a collection of 6,000 pieces made up essentially of objects of ethnographic and archaeological interest, a photographic collection with estimated holdings of some 40,000 black and white prints and 12,000 slides, a tape collection of 500 audio cassettes and 300 video cassettes, of which fifteen are documentaries. Apart from a number of musical instruments, which survived previous numerous moves and poor conservation conditions, the traditional musical instruments, exhibited during the 1978 Biennial, constituted the first musical heritage collection of the Museum. The major part of the Museumıs musical heritage holdings, however, was established as a result of the Musical Heritage Study and Collection Project, which, through five years of fieldwork, assembled 150 musical instruments and accessories, 274 audio cassettes, 121 hours of video recordings, 5,472 black and white prints and 5,904 slides. The National Museum carried out this project in collaboration with the International Institute for Traditional Music in Berlin.