Endangered Archives

EAP050: Making Professor Ade Obayemi's life work available to the world

Dr Patrick Darling, Independent Researcher
2005 award - Pilot project
£1,830 for 1 month

Project Overview

The late Professor Ade Obayemi’s lifetime collection of documents and correspondence lies in the Akodi Africa Museum he set up with his own funds at his home town in Iffe Ijuma, Kogi State, Nigeria. Professor Obayemi made some of the earliest archaeological explorations of northern Nigeria and became the Director General of Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments.

The museum is now empty and overgrown but there are three rooms in the museum library buildings which are packed with Professor Obayemi’s documents: files, maps, letters, unpublished articles and other ‘grey’ literature. There is extensive termite and silverfish infestation.

The objective of this pilot project is to evaluate the collection for the feasibility of a major research project, both in terms of the subject material covered and how much of it would warrant copying or be in a condition to be able to be copied. Digital photographs of a random sample will be taken at this stage to assist in formulating a possible full proposal to copy the material. The original material would be located in the museum, which it is hoped will be re-established.

Project Outcome

This pilot project was completed in October 2005, with a survey completed of the material in the museum and estimates made of the quantity of material worthy of listing and copying under a future major research project. This included some 950 unbound articles and 130 audio tapes of oral history, war songs and traditional music. Past damage to the collection by insects, rodents and weather was assessed and basic protective measures were taken.

Survey results (PDF document 678KB)