5 Beautiful Kenyan Museums to Visit

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Kenya has long been known as ‘big game’ country, with huge numbers of animals in over 40 national parks and reserves. The country has a long and illustrious history of protecting its varied wildlife. All this has helped provide the visitor to Kenya with a wide range of experiences in all sorts of terrain. The country has had its fair share of international publicity through the exhibition of its historical, scientific, artistic, and cultural interests.

Nairobi National Museum

The Nairobi National Museum is a one stop for visitors to sample Kenya’s rich heritage, both for education and leisure. It is located at the Museum Hill – a few minutes drive from Nairobi Central District. Nairobi National Museum houses a collection of Kenya’s history, nature, culture and contemporary art.

The artworks and materials used in the fabrication of outdoor sculptures, the landscaping and the botanic gardens, are linked to the four pillars of Kenya’s national heritage – i.e. nature, culture, history and contemporary art. The museum is also known as a unique events venue, for the appreciation of Kenya’s heritage. Additionally, visitors are treated to a variety of shopping and dining facilities, as well as botanical gardens that offer a serene environment.

Fort Jesus Museum

The Fort Jesus Museum is a world heritage site in Mombasa, and one of the most outstanding and well-preserved examples of 16th-century Portuguese military fortification. Built in the shape of a man, the architecture of the fort represents the rough outline of a person lying on their back, with the head facing towards the sea. The port was captured by Portuguese, Arab and British at different times throughout history and they are all represented as the major powers of the time. To date, the Oman house, which was the house for the Sultan who governed the East African coast, is still standing in the fort. Other historical structures still standing include an open water cistern by the Portuguese for harvesting rainwater and a 76-foot deep well sunk by the Arabs, where the water is famously too salty to be used domestically. Other than being a popular destination for both local and foreign tourists, today, Fort Jesus is important as a host to various research programs, a conservation lab and an old town conservation office.

Bomas of Kenya

Bomas of Kenya depicts traditional villages belonging to several tribes of Kenya. It is a tourist village based in Lang’ata, Nairobi. It was established by the government as a tourist attraction to preserve, maintain and promote rich and diverse cultural values of various tribal groups of Kenya. The ethnic groups are; Kikuyu, Luhya, Luo, Kalenjin, Kamba, Kisii, Meru, Mijikenda, amongst others. Different aspects of the Kenyan culture are displayed at Bomas. These include living styles, crafts, music and dancing. On most occasions, visitors are treated to traditional dances and acrobatics.

Malindi Museum

Located in Malindi, the museum is a host to the famous Vasco Da Gama pillar. The building is situated along the seafront, some few meters from Malindi jetty and the fish market. It is a charming old double storey structure with a roof terrace covered with beautiful, glistening roof tiles. It is a building of the 19th century with a rectangular shape and a long veranda.

The building is accessible through four main entrances. Two of these entrances are on the East façade, accessible through a colonnade of 5 rounded pillars on square pedestal. One of them is fitted with a Gujerati 9 and the other with a Swahili carved door. The third entrance is on the Northern façade at the North-West quadrant reached through a flight of a masonry stairway. It has a small trap door of the Indian type serving both the ground and the first floor of the building. The other entrance, exclusively for the first floor, is on the Southern façade and is reached through an exterior wooden staircase, which evidently is a secondary addition to the building. The door to this entrance is simple and opens onto a balcony supported by the rounded columns covered with a roof resting on dressed wooden supports. The museum currently houses temporary exhibitions. The museum also doubles as an information centre, where visitors are able to find more information on attractions and happenings in Malindi.

Kisumu Museum

Kisumu Museum can be found in Kisumu and most of its exhibits revolve around the natural and cultural history of Western Kenya. Other than the culture of the people, the museum features a diverse collection of flora and fauna species. Additionally, a traditional Luo homestead and other traditional Luo artifacts constitute part of the exhibits in the museum. Moreover, there are sites and monuments of historical significance attached to Kisumu Museum including Fort Tenan, Songhor, Thimlich Ohinga and Rusinga Islands.

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