The place of museum in preservation of history

Benin bronze

The national museum houses many different items of relics unimaginable to a lot of people. Scholars have visited for research and students from primary to secondary schools have come several times with their teachers on excursions to physically ascertain what they have been taught.

Among the many items that are neatly and carefully preserved and documented are the cultural discoveries of diverse ethnic groups. It is noteworthy that people in the olden days manufactured many items for their use by moulden silver, gold, diamond or bronse. Necklaces, cups, spoons, kettles, and other expensive ornaments used 100 years ago or more manufactured using silver attract visitors to the museum yearly. 

The mining of silver began from 5000 years ago. It was first mined in about 3000 B. C. in Anatoli, in modern day Turkey. Silver has a special place in the history of elements because it is one of the first five metal discovered and used by humans. The metal occurs naturally in the pure free form (native silver), as an alloy with gold and other metals and in minerals such as argentine and chloragyrite. Most silver is produced as a byproduct of copper, gold, lead and zinc refining.

This highly valuable metal is slightly harder than gold and has the highest electrical conductivity of any of the metals. Silver has also been used to create coins, although today other metals are typically used in its place. Sterling silvers is an alloy containing 92. 5% silver and is used to make silver ware, jewelry and other decorative items. Of all the metals, silver is the best conductor of heat and electricity; in fact, it has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity known for any material.

The technology used centuries ago by blacksmiths were considered crude because of modern science. However, they manufactured items using the same process locally; a blast furnace or a billow fire furnace for low capacity smelting fire fork, water for cooling, moulds for creating shapes and sizes, mallet, pliers edger, chisels, files, driver, flat hammer, work bench, leather apron with pouches, big scissors for cutting heated silver into firm shapes, etc.

When it comes to jewelry, few materials are better suited for it than silver. Lustrous but resilient, it responds well to sculpting, requires minimal care and lasts for a lifetime.

Also, because it is not as expensive as gold, designers have the freedom to create larger, more elaborate pieces while keeping the price point down. Jewelry is one area where silver take centre stage, but there are other applications, though not quite as glamorous, in which silver is just as essential.

Silver’s use in modern technology has greatly expanded its role in recent years. A number of factors have played a crucial factor in this growth, not the least of which is silver’s unique technical proficiency, which makes it suitable for a wide range of applications while also limiting the ability of industrial users to shift in favour of less- costly alternatives. 

It is one of the best electrical end uses, including switches, multi-layer ceramic capacitors, conductive adhesives, and  electrically heated automobile windshield. Silver is also used as a coating material for optical data- storage media, including DVDs, and also used in brazing and soldering. It is also incorporated into health and medical applications given its natural antibacterial qualities. When we take a broad look at the latest technological advances and the most important ones of the last century, we see the role of silver in nearly every major field of advancement. 

In the museum, you will find items of inestimable value cherished by the  society and so well protected. If the museum were not there, it would have been very difficult for nations to remember some images that relate to their  history. 

Abbas Ibrahim,

Principal Conservator,

National Commission for Museum and Monuments, Abuja