The Museums of Kenya
Kenya’s history is defined by stories that are better seen than told. Museums are custodians of history and Kenya has a huge chunk, that begins right at the center of the concrete jungle of Nairobi.
Nairobi National Museum is located at the Museum Hill, approximately 10 minutes’ drive from the city center. It is accessible both by public and private means. It was Built in 1929 and is the flagship museum for the National Museums of Kenya, housing celebrated collections of Kenya’s History, Nature, Culture and Contemporary Art.
Karen Blixen Museum in Nairobi is named after ‘Out of Africa’s’ heroine. The house is still in its original form with photographs and oil paintings by Ms Blixen adorning the walls.
Kenya Railway Museum houses train carriages dating back to early 1900s. It is located in Nairobi off Uhuru Highway.
Kabarnet Museum was a District Commissioner’s house located in Baringo town in the Rift Valley. It was officially opened in 1996 and houses material culture of the people of Rift Valley.
Hyrax Hill Museum is located 4km from Nakuru town. It got its name from its location’s abundance of hyraxes living in the rocks. It was established in 1965 because of the significance of the area that was a prehistoric settlement dating back to 3000years. It displays cultural exhibits of the people of Rift Valley and excavations from archeological sites.
Narok Museum is one of the youngest Kenyan museums and is located in Narok town. It displays artefacts of the Maasai people and other Maa speakers such as the Njemps from Baringo, Ndorombos and the Samburus from Laikipia and Nyahururu counties.
Kariandusi Museum is located along Nairobi – Nakuru Highway. It was founded in 1928 in an area believed to date back to one million years ago. Kariandusi is known for diatomite mining from which many archeological artifacts were discovered. Therefore the museum exhibits hand axes and cleaver tools among others found by archeologists.
Koobi Fora museum is located east of Lake Turkana and is a wolrd leading prehistoric site. It exhibits fossils dating a-back 1 million years.
Kapenguria Museum officially opened in 1993 and is located in Kapenguria town. This is where the six founding fathers of Kenya were detained for their struggle for independence. The building used to be a courtroom during trials of Kenyan heroes and had a prison and a district commissioner’s house. The museum today house cultural exhibits of the Cherangani and Pokot People, newspapers and magazine articles of the MauMau movement.
Kitale Museum was the first inland musem in Kenya and was opened in December 1974. Located in Kitale town, its attractions include exhibits of the Bukusu, Elgon Maasai, the Luo and Turkana.
Kisumu Museum located within Kisumu City, it was opened in 1980. Its exhibits include an outdoor snake park, a fresh water aquarium, tortoise pens and culture of the local people.
Jaramogi Museum is located at Kang’o ka Jaramogi in Bondo, the home of the Late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga who was Kenya’s first vice president and father to the current Prime Minister Raila Odinga. He once was refereed to as the father of opposition politics in Kenya. Basically here you get to experience the life of Jaramogi. Displays include Odinga’s briefcase, clothes and ceremonial hats.
Gede Museum is located in Kilifi County. It once was a settlement founded in the 12th Century until the 17th Century when it was abandoned due to hostile neighboring communities. From a 1940 Excavation, many remains religious, cultural and commercial structures, including imported Chinese and Islamic porcelain, glass, shell beads, gold and silver jewellery, coins and local pottery were found.Lamu Museums; Lamu is the oldest Swahili town in Kenya. Most of its attractions date back to the pre-colonial period.
Lamu; You can’t talk of Kenya’s tourism industry and fail to mention Lamu. The town and Island at large is home to some major tourist attraction sites and events, see Magical Kenya. Lamu has four museums namely;
– Lamu Museum
– German Post Office
– Lamu Fort Enviroment Museum
– Swahili House Museum
Lamu Museum was built in 1891 by the Al-Busaidy Family and later taken over by the British Colonial government to house senior government officials. Today it houses a wide collection of rare ethnographic material from the Swahili, Orma and Pokomo communities. Like many other buildings in the Island, it is characterized by 18th century Swahili architecture. The German Post Office was a private residence built in the 19th Century. It houses traces of contacts between Germany and Kenya, which show postal services existed between the two. Others include;Takwa Ruins, managed by Museums of Kenya located in Manda Island and; Siyu Port, further in Pate Island. Siyu was a Swahili settlement dating back to 15th Century. It was built by a Siyu leader called Mohammed Ishaq bin Mbarak bin Mohamad bin Oman Famau to resist domination by the Omani Arabs.
Above information sources consolidated from: Museums of Kenya || Travel Discover Kenya || Magical Kenya || KWS
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