National Museums of Kenya


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About National Museums of Kenya

Museums in Kenya are managed by National Museums of Kenya (NMK) which is also a state corporation established by an Act of Parliament. The  museums role is to collect, preserve, study, document and present Kenya’s past and present culture and natural heritage. In addition, NMK also manages Regional Museums, Sites and Monuments of national and international importance. This is alongside priceless collections of Kenya’s living cultural and natural heritage.

NMK is also a multidisciplinary institution with more than 18 research departments, along with various programs and associated institutes. This is for the purposes of enhancing knowledge, appreciation, respect and sustainable utilization of these resources. It is also for the benefit of Kenya and the world, for now and posterity. NMK’s mutual concern is for the welfare of mankind and the conservation of the biological diversity. This is for the East African region and that of the entire planet demands success in such efforts.

Key Regional museums on Kenya tourism circuits.

Nairobi National Museum

The Museum offers a one stop for visitors to sample the country’s rich heritage both for education and leisure. In addition, visitors are treated to a variety of shopping and dining facilities, as well as botanical gardens. Also nature trails that offer a serene environment.
The museum is open on all 356 days throughout the year from 0830hrs -17300hrs. Nairobi National Museum is located at the Museum Hill, approximately 10 minutes drive from the Nairobi city centre. It houses the following; collections of Kenya’s History, Nature, Culture and Contemporary Art.

It is ideal place to tour when in Nairobi

Nairobi Gallery(NMK)

Nairobi Gallery is located in the heart of the beautiful City of Nairobi. The building housing the Gallery was built in 1913. It also served as Provincial Commissioners’ office building. Fondly referred to as ‘Hatches, Matches and Dispatches’ because of the births, marriages and deaths that were recorded here. Today, the building is a National Monument and serves as a museum holding temporary art exhibitions. A tour can be arranged when in Nairobi.

Karen Blixen Museum(National Museums of Kenya)

Karen Blixen Museum is located 10km from the city centre at the foot of the Ngong hills. The house where the museum is located was built in 1912. Karen Blixen and her husband Baron Bror von Blixen bought the land surrounding it in 1917. They had an intention of setting up a coffee plantation. They separated in 1921. Karen continued to stay on the property and ran the plantation until she left Kenya. The house therefore gained international fame with the release of the movie ‘Out of Africa’. An Oscar winning film based on Karen’s an autobiography with the same title.

The Museum is open to the public every day including weekends and public holidays with guided tours. The  museum shop offers the following; handicrafts, posters and postcards, the Movie ‘Out of Africa’, books and other Kenyan souvenirs.  The grounds also acts as wedding receptions, corporate functions and other events for hire.

A half day tour is ideal for this museum.

Fort Jesus Museum(NMK)

Fort Jesus Museum is located in the city of Mombasa at the Kenyan coast. The portuguese built the fort in 1593 to secure their safety. The Fort therefore became a Museum in 1962 and is now an important historical landmark in the East African region. The exhibits in Fort Jesus Museum includes the following; archaeological excavations from Fort Jesus, Gede, Manda, Ungwana and other sites. Individuals including Mrs. J.C. White, Mr. C.E. Whitton and Mrs. W.S. Marchant donated some objects on display. Visit the museum on a day tour with kichaka tours in Mombasa.

Lamu Museum (NMK)

The Lamu Museums are located in the Lamu Archipelago. It is indeed one of the most beautiful and serene locations on the African continent and a World Heritage Site.

The museums in Lamu include Lamu Fort built in 1813. Lamu German post office established in 1822 by the Germans and also the unique architecture of the houses in Lamu. It is ideal to tour this museums when you are in Lamu town.

Kisumu Museum (NMK)

The Museum is located in the lake side city of Kisumu in the western part of Kenya. Kisumu museum stores and disseminates information on cultural and scientific issues with emphasis on Western Kenya. Exhibits include cultural history. The museum also provides educational services to schools in its neighbourhood. A tour to the museum is ideal when visiting western Kenya.

Gede Ruins (National Museums of Kenya)

These are the remains of a Swahili town at the Kenyan coastal town of Malindi. It was built in the twelfth century. Its numerous ruins, comprises of a conglomeration of mosques; a magnificent palace and houses all nestled in 45 acres of primeval forest. It is also an ideal site to tour when you are within the coastal town of Malindi.

Kitale Museum (National Museums of Kenya)

This museum is known for the wide range of ethnographical materials donated to the nation by Colonel Stoneham. It also has a replica of traditional homesteads of communities such as Bukusu, Maasai, Marakwet and Luo. Notable collections include the following; snakes, crocodiles, and tortoises. The nature trail provides good birding and picnic sites. The museum now practice environmental conservation.

Other regional Museums under National Museums of Kenya

Finally these museums mostly showcase the culture and heritage of the surrounding local communities. Also artifacts from archaeological areas and exhibition ethnographic collections.

These Museums include:

  • Malindi Museums
  • Desert Museum
  • Kapenguria
  • Kariandusi Museum
  • Meru Museum
  • Hyrax Hill Museum
  • Kabarnet Museum
  • Narok Museum
  • Rabai Museum
  • Wajir Museum
  • Tambach Museum
  • Nyeri Museum