“Home of Heritage”
The Nairobi National Museum began as the Coryndon Museum, named after Sir Robert Coryndon, a prominent patron of the Uganda Natural History Society. On September 22, 1930, the site was opened as the Nairobi National Museum, a repository that preserves the history and cultures of Kenya. Later, Dr. Louis Leakey successfully raised funds to expand the museum, and many of the gallery names honor prominent personas of the past, such as Mahatma Gandhi, Aga Khan, Winston Churchill and others. During the 1960s, the Nairobi Snake Park was added to the museum. Expansion continued to include research programs in ethnography and cultural anthropology in cooperation with the University of Nairobi and Institute of African Studies, as well as a close association with the Institute of Primate Research. Between 2005 and 2008, there have been significant fabricated and collection expansions of the museum to keep up with highest standards of excellence.
Why it stands out
The Museum aims to interpret Kenya’s rich heritage and offers a one stop for visitors to sample the country’s rich heritage both for education and leisure. In addition to the museum, visitors are treated to a variety of shopping and dining facilities, as well as botanical gardens that offer a serene environment.
How to get there
Nairobi National Museum is located at the Museum Hill behind the University of Nairobi, approximately 10 minutes’ drive from the Nairobi city center and accessible both by public and private means. You can also choose to walk because it is just a15minutes walk from the city center.
Or get there with Uniglobe Lets’ Go Travel
Opening hours and charges
The museum opens at 8.30am- 5.30pm daily. A Kenyan citizen only needs to have Ksh.300 for a combined ticket (museum and snake park) while residents and nonresidents need Ksh.600 and 1500 respectively.
What to do and see
At the museum you get a chance to learn about the cultural heritage of Kenya. you also get to know why Kenya is referred to as the cradle of mankind. The museum’s permanent collection is entered via the Hall of Kenya, with some ethnological exhibits.
In one of the rooms in this hall is the Birds of East Africa exhibit, a huge gallery of at least 900 stuffed specimens.
In an adjacent room is the Great Hall of Mammals, with dozens of stuffed mammals. Here you find celebrity Ahmed, the massive elephant that became a symbol of Kenya in the peak of 1980s poaching crisis, and who was placed under 24-hour guard by Jomo Kenyatta.
Next to the mammal’s room is the Cradle of Humankind exhibition, the highlight of which is the Hominid Skull Room – an extraordinary collection of skulls that describes itself as ‘the single most important collection of early human fossils in the world’. Here you will meet the turkana boy.
Upstairs, is the History of Kenya exhibit which offers an engaging journey through Kenyan and East African history. It’s well-presented, well-documented and offers a refreshingly Kenyan counterpoint to colonial historiographies. Also on the 1st floor, the Cycles of Life room is rich in ethnological artefacts from Kenya’s various tribes and ethnic groups.
Piece of art representing the 42 ethnic tribes of Kenya
In addition to offering visitor’s with Kenya’s rich heritage, the museum is also well known as a unique events venue, for the appreciation of Kenya’s heritage amidst workshops, cocktails, conferences and other functions.
The museum has a rich collection of the Kenyan heritage. it was a great experience learning about the history of Kenya. It quite exciting to learn of the early life of Kenyans. The snake park and all its reptiles offers an amazing experience for those interested in the cold blooded. The botanical garden provides a calm place to relax in a beautiful green environment. However, plastics bags were everywhere with a pool of murky water right at the gate. The price is fair. Rating: 7/10
Guiding and interpretation rating.
A downside to the visit was that there was open discrimination between dark skinned visitors and white skinned visitors by guides. Guides will jump on the first “Mzungu” that enters the Museum doors while the dark skinned visitors remained ignored until service was requested. Most audio visual information equipment were out of service. Rating: 3/10
Exhibits were well preserved and maintained. However, waste management was a big concern. Litter bins were not strategically placed evidenced by the various plastic and paper litter could be seen was scattered at the museum hall and botanical garden. Where bins were present, they were full and overflowing with garbage. A pool of murky water was evident near the gate. Rating: 4/10
Overall Rating: 4.7/10
The museum should check on their waste management and treat all tourists/visitors equally especially when it comes to guiding and interpretation . Otherwise it’s a good attraction to visit that will give you a memorable experience.
Visit The Nairobi National Museums of Kenya with Uniglobe Lets’ Go Travel
Reviewed 11th March 2017 by Peter Ogalo