Since Zimbabwe won its independence from the United Kingdom in 1980, the country has sought to embrace and reinterpret its own cultural history. Influences of the colonial era linger in museums, especially in the areas of architecture, interpretation, administration, and community relations. How can Zimbabwean museums systematically identify the colonial influences affecting them, deconstruct those influences, and form new models that reaffirm indigenous cultures and stimulate growth for cultural institutions? The sources cited within this document discuss Zimbabwean history, colonial history, and cultural heritage. The BaTonga Community Museum, the first museum to serve a minority ethnic group, is an important case study by which to analyze the decolonization process, the promotion of indigenous cultures, and relationship-building with communities. The results of my research will demonstrate the importance of decolonization, the challenges of doing so, and the positive effect it can have on both communities and the museums that serve them. Recommendations will also be made for how Zimbabwean museums can most effectively apply reforming principles and improve institutional sustainability.

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Museum Studies (BS)


Rebecca DeRoo

Advisor/Committee Member

Conerly Casey

Advisor/Committee Member

Tina Lent


RIT – Main Campus