Kenyan culture is diverse and fascinating. Surprising is that a big museum, which could tell the story of this wonderful region appeared just one hundred years ago.
The first unofficial museum appeared in the city in 1910, when a group of enthusiastic naturalists began displaying their collections in one of the administrative buildings in Nairobi. In the beginning, just a few people visited, but gradually the exhibitions started to attract a bigger audience. An opportunity to learn about local flora and fauna not just from schools and parents, but from actual scientists who were eager to share their knowledge at mini-lectures and illustrate it with their showpieces, was extremely appealing.
In 1929, the colonial government, interested in increasing the average level of education among the residents, allocated a piece of land almost in the centre of Nairobi for building a museum. A year after, in September 1930, a grand opening of the Nairobi National Museum happened. It used to be the biggest museum at that time.
Today, the Nairobi National Museum is not only about the showrooms. It’s a full complex of fascinating pavilions where you can get to know the history, culture, flora, and fauna of marvelous Kenya. The museum regularly hosts workshops and seminars, lectures of famous scientists and painters, special classes for students. In other words, it is not just a museum, it’s a multifunctional cultural and learning centre.
The most engaging permanent exhibitions include: Birds of the Eastern Africa, featuring more than 900 bird kinds; Mammals, stuffed animals inhabiting the territory of Kenya; Cradle of Mankind, the collection demonstrating the evolution of human beings, based on Darwin’s theory; Fishes; Paleontology; Household History; Ethnic Culture of Kenya. And that’s not nearly the full list of themes featured in the museum.
There are also separate rooms for temporary exhibitions. Works of contemporary Kenyan artists usually occupy them. As a rule, they are incredibly bright, distinctive, combining the latest European styles and national traditions.
The Nairobi National Museum is a place where you can get to know the wonderful country Kenya in as much detail as possible, feel its uniqueness and diversity.