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Museums in Nairobi

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Kenya Railway Museum
Kenya Railway Museum (Nairobi Railway Museum) is located in an old railway building along Uhuru Highway. It provides answers to many unanswered questions concerning the early history of the rail and Kenya’s development. Nairobi Railway museum consists of the Main Gallery, the Resource Center, the auditorium and an outdoor collection of locomotives, wagons and coaches.
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Lamu Museums
Lamu Museums are located in the North Coast, a World Heritage Site and one of the most beautiful & serene locations on the African continent. Museum attractions include the Lamu Museum, Lamu Fort, German Post Office, Swahili House and the Takwa Ruins.
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Nairobi National Museum
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.
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Village Museum
Kijiji cha Makumbusho - No one interested in the local culture should miss out on this museum. Open-air display of traditional habitats and crafts. The Village Museum was established in 1996. This museum was established for the purpose of demonstrating and preservation of traditional cultures of Tanzania. Visiting the village museum is like visiting the whole of Tanzania ethnic groups. The museum displays traditional huts of about 16 different Tanzanian ethnic groups. The idea of a ‘village museum’ seems a curious paradox ­is it a village, or is it a museum? Perhaps it is neither in the conventional sense. It is certainly not a living village, but rather a collection of authentically furnished homesteads representing some of Tanzania’s many different rural cultures. Nor is it a museum in the traditional sense (there is not a glass case to be seen). All 16 houses can be entered, and there are plenty of objects to see and handle. The Kiswahili word ‘makumbusho’, ‘reminders’, is more apt here than the English ‘museum, with its classical muse associations. Herein lies not only the unique charm of the place but also the real importance of the site.
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Dar National Museum
The Dar es Salaam National Museum is a site that showcases the history of Tanzania and is located at the centre of Dar es Salaam's CBD - Tanzania. It is the oldest in the country and has three large buildings. The museum was first established in 1934 by then governor of Tanganyika Harold MacMichael [1] but was not opened to the public until 1940. Since then two more buildings have been added, with the last one being the culture wing in 2011. Find out more about the history of Tanzania from as early as the 6th century or even earlier if you consider the displays about the origin of mankind; However, most of the actual information is on stories and not in the actual pictures. There are no video or audio explanations, thus a lot of reading is required to gain any information, unless of course if you got a guided tour. There also are two libraries near the entrance, one for children and one for adults. Each of these is equipped with tablets from which to browse the library's archives.
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Tank Graveyard
Although not an official tourist spot, the Tank Graveyard is a large patch of overgrown land just outside Asmara containing military tanks, armored vehicles and other metal tokens of war which were abandoned by the fleeing Ethiopian forces.
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Sudan National Museum
Sudanese Museum is one of the main attractions of Sudan. The National Museum of Sudan is the largest museum in Sudan. Located on El Neel Avenue in Khartoum, the museum contains works from different epochs of Sudanese history.
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Khalifa House Museum
The museum is located near The Mahdi’s tomb in Omdurman. The house was built for the successor of the Mahdi. The museum was established in 1928 and contains antiquities of the Mahdist period.
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Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe
The Natural Museum of Zimbabwe located in the Centenary Park in Bulawayo, was built in 1962, and in 1982 all the natural science collections were moved here and it was renamed the Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe. With its stunning displays and valuable research, collections are the best museum in Southern Africa and rank fourth in size among the museums of Africa. It is an impressive circular building with nine public display galleries, a lecture hall with a seating capacity of 120 people, a cafeteria, and eight research departments with substantial study collections and ongoing research in the following disciplines: Arachnology and Invertebrates; Entomology; Ornithology; Mammology; Herpetology; Ichthyology; Geology and Paleontology; Archaeology and Monuments.
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Bulawayo National Art Gallery
Housed in one of the country’s finest monuments, the National Gallery in Bulawayo is a unique facility, which holds invigorating and challenging exhibitions. Douslin House where the Gallery is housed in more than 100 years today. Its architectural splendor makes evident the gallery’s own goal of aesthetic appreciation and artistic aim. As custodians of a growing Zimbabwean heritage, Art Gallery is tasked with the creative and intellectual discipline to select, to nurture and commend outstanding works of visual art, to select and display pivotal works, to generate and improve upon existing talent, to train and develop artistic skills, to educate, to empower, to mediate, and mostly to celebrate. Freed from some of the influences and concerns, which dominate other provinces in Zimbabwe, the unique thrust of the National Gallery in Bulawayo is its desire to dissolve barriers between art and its audience, to establish a consistent dialogue and intimacy. The personality of this gallery is embodied in its transparent windows in the Lower Gallery, which allow passers-by to view current exhibitions while going on about their daily business.
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Museu Nacional de Antropologia
Dedicated to educating people about the history and culture of Angola, the National Museum of Anthropology has a collection of over 6,000 objects and artefacts, ranging from arts, masks, musical instruments, tools, fabrics, jewelry and weaponry. There are also cultural exhibits on traditional religion, female societal rites, and other traditional ceremonies.
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Saint Michael's Fortress
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, Säo Miguel fort was built in 1576 by Paulo Dias de Novais who founded the city of Luanda. In 1627, the fort became the administrative colony and was a major outlet for slave traffic to Brazil. With thick walls fitted with cannons, it was a fortified enclosure, and it remained the headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief of the Portuguese Army in Angola until 1975. The fort presently houses the National Museum of Military History.
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The Kruger House Museum
The last house in which President Paul Kruger was to live, between 1883 and 1901, before he left South Africa to go into exile in Europe, the Kruger House Museum lies just a few blocks from Church square, where his bronze statue takes centre stage facing the Palace of Justice.
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Dar Al Madinah Urban Museum
It is the first museum specialized in the history and urban and the built heritage of Al Madinah. The museum showcases the Islamic heritage and culture, as well as the city’s magnificent and substantial history since the Prophet’s first arrival in Al Madinah to the present day.
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Adler Museum of Medicine
The Adler Museum of Medicine preserves the history of the health sciences in Southern Africa, with special reference to Gauteng. It supplements the educational activities of the University, especially the Health Sciences, by means of collections, research, teaching, exhibitions and publications. The Museum contains interesting and invaluable collections depicting the history of medicine, dentistry and pharmacy through the ages. Apart from the hundreds of items of medical historical interest on display, there are also documents, sculptures, pictures, videos and philatelic and medallion collections relating to medical history as well as the history of allied health sciences. The Museum has a library of rare books and a significant history of medicine reference library. In addition, a rich archive arranged by subject matter is housed in the library, and biographical information relating to thousands of medical and allied health professionals is available to students, researchers and interested members of the public.
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Constitution Hill
Constitution Hill represents South Africa’s dark past and its bright post-apartheid future. Johannesburg’s most notorious historic prisons (all of them now museums) sit side by side with the home of the Constitutional Court, a symbol of South Africa’s triumphant democracy. The site is located on the ridge between two city neighbourhoods, Hillbrow and Braamfontein, overlooking central Johannesburg, and is one of the most important tourist attractions in South Africa. In the old prison blocks visitors can learn more about South Africa’s difficult path towards freedom and democracy from the extensive permanent museum exhibitions that include personal testimonies from former prisoners and warders and installations. There are also a number of guided tours of the complex which give further insight into the the significance of this heritage landmark and a small cafe called The Hill is open for refreshments once you have finished exploring.
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Absa Museum
As the only banking and money museum in South Africa, it is the custodian, not only of South Africa’s banking history, but also of the economic, political, and social changes that are often so dramatically reflected in these currencies
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Apartheid Museum
The Apartheid Museum is the story of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity and oppression. Beginning in 1948, the white elected National Party government initiated a process that turned more than 20 million people into 2nd class citizens, damning them to a life of servitude, humiliation and abuse. Their liberation in 1994 was the climax of a nation’s resistance, courage and fortitude. The path through the museum leads you on a journey beginning with segregation, the cornerstone of apartheid. It takes you back through the history of the myriad cultures converging during the pre-apartheid era, through the years of race classification, the 150 acts of apartheid, detentions and the oppression of the nationalist regime. You will examine the rise of black consciousness and the armed struggle, and finally witness the release of Nelson Mandela after 27 years of imprisonment which led to the negotiations for peace.
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Mummification Museum
Luxor Museum of Mummification is without question a real Must-See Luxor attraction that essentially showcases the ancient and fascinating art of mummification. The Luxor Museum of mummification is exactly what it says it is: a museum that is dedicated to the subject of mummification. Visitors arriving in Luxor can find the museum facing the Nile River on Luxor West Bank, just a short distance north of the infamous Luxor Temple. Many visitors to the city would agree that you haven’t really experienced ancient Egypt if you haven’t visited the remarkable and incredibly interesting Luxor museum of mummification. The museum occupies what was previously a modern visitor centre, and many visitors are surprised when they discover just how big the museum actually is. As it stands today, it covers an area of just over 2,000 square meters, and within that area, visitors will find the main artefacts room; a lecture hall, a video room and a cafeteria. The Luxor Museum of mummification has done a spectacular job at showcasing the ancient art of Egyptian mummification, and today visitors can see a large collection of mummification related items on display, along with several mummified animals and even the mummy of Masaherta that is believed to be more than three thousand years old.
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Luxor Museum
The Luxor Museum is nowhere near as big as the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, but it was never meant to be, choosing instead to display quality rather than quantity. The Museum of Luxor is located more or less right in the centre of Luxor, overlooking the Luxor west bank of the Nile River. Visitors who intend to visit the museum in shouldn’t expect to see anything along the lines of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo because the two places are quite literally worlds apart. While the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo is host to the world’s largest collection of Egyptian antiquities, Luxor Museum only has a relatively small collection, but it’s definitely worth visiting. When the museum was originally opened in 1975 there were no plans to house a massive collection of artefacts. Instead, the museum has a sort of “quality before quantity” policy.
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Mini Egypt Park
A miniature park is an open space that displays miniature buildings and models. Mini Egypt Park offers a totally different experience compared to a traditional museum.
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Sand City Hurghada
One and only Open air and Sand Sculptures Museum in Africa and Middle East, Sand City Hurghada, made of 42 sculptures and 17 relief by artist from different countries who left a peace of hart and soul in their work.
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BERGTHEIL MUSEUM
Named after Jonas Bergtheil, this museum is situated in the leafy suburb of Westville, almost midway between Durban and Pinetown. The museum is housed in Westville’s oldest building (c.1840) featuring massive stone walls and hand-hewn timber floorboards.
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Museum of Islamic Art
xperience 14 centuries of great art in a few hours. The MIA’s magnificent and imaginatively presented displays of the finest art and artefacts from across the Islamic world have earned it recognition among the world’s top cultural institutions.
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Qasr Al Hosn
Qasr Al Hosn is the oldest and most significant building in Abu Dhabi, holding the city’s first permanent structure; the watchtower. Built around the 1790’s, the commanding structure overlooked the coastal trade routes and protected the growing settlement established on the island. Qasr Al Hosn comprises of two major iconic buildings: the Inner Fort (originally constructed in 1795) and the Outer Palace (1939-45). Over the centuries, it has been home to the ruling family, the seat of government, a consultative council and a national archive; it now stands as the nation’s living memorial and the narrator of Abu Dhabi’s history. Transformed into a museum in 2018 following more than eleven years of intensive conservation and restoration work, Qasr Al Hosn is a national monument that encapsulates the development of Abu Dhabi from a settlement reliant on fishing and pearling in the 18th century, to a modern, global metropolis, with displays of artefacts and archival materials dating back to as far as 6000 BC.
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Louvre Abu Dhabi
The iconic Louvre Abu Dhabi is the first universal museum in the Arab World that translates the spirit of openness of cultures. As one of the premier cultural institutions located in the heart of the Saadiyat Cultural District, the art-lovers dream displays the works of historical, cultural and sociological significance from ancient times to the contemporary era. Designed by Pritzker-prize winning architect Jean Nouvel, the Louvre Abu Dhabi encompasses 9,200 sq. m of galleries including the Permanent Gallery and a Temporary Gallery that is enriched by loans from many notable French museums including Musee du Louvre, Musee d'Orsay, and Centre Pompidou. Recreating parts of UAE’s integral cultural elements, Nouvel designed a falaj-inspired water system running through the museum, inspired by ancient Arabian engineering whilst the orderly lace dome borrows inspiration from the interlaced palm leaves traditionally used as roofing material in many parts of the country that results in an enchanting play of light. The juxtaposition of different civilizations in the same spaces, the Louvre Abu Dhabi illustrates similarities and exchanges from the shared human experience going beyond geography, nationality, and history.
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Qasr Al Muwaiji
Qasr Al Muwaiji was home to generations of the Al Nahyan family and saw the birth of Sheikh Khalifa in 1948. The UNESCO World Heritage Site functioned not only as a home and an oasis in the desert but also as a place of rule and a focus for the community. The architectural gem now offers its visitors a variety of historical and traditional experiences associated with the venue, including oral narrations of the significant moments of Sheikh Khalifa’s life from his early childhood, leadership and vast national achievements.
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Al Jahili Fort
Since opening its gates in 2008, Al Jahili Fort has been a cultural the focal point of activities associated with philosophy and heritage of Abu Dhabi in the Garden City. Al Jahili is one of the largest forts in the UAE and was built in the 1890s on orders from Zayed The First as the home to members of the Al Nahyan ruling family. Between 2007 and 2008, the fort was restored by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, who transformed it into a cultural centre and tourist attraction that now houses a permanent exhibition devoted to Wilfred Thesiger, the intrepid explorer, travel writer and photographer, who crossed the Empty Quarter twice in the 1940s, and a temporary exhibition gallery. Surrounded by a lush park, this enchanting fort won the prestigious Terra Award for the best Earthen Architecture in the world in 2016.
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The Egyptian Museum
It may not be the oldest museum exhibiting Egyptian antiquities, but the Egyptian Museum holds the most: over 150,000 pieces are on display, with an incredible 30,000 more stocked away. After an initial ID check at the Egyptian Museum’s entrance just off of Tahrir Square, there is a bag check at the main gates. Once you have acquired your ticket, there is yet another queue for ticket checks, before you enter through the museum doors, upon which you are subjected to another electronic sensor. Despite the museum’s website claims, you are not allowed to bring a camera in under any circumstances. Upon entering the museum, you will feel like a rogue archaeologist that has stumbled on a tomb of treasures. You are immediately confronted by three routes. Taking a left will start you off on the chronological route through Egyptian history. Once you’ve figured out the slightly confusing numbering, room fourteen is a secret little pleasure and a must-see. Guarded by statues on either side of its entrance, the room is built like a temple. Steles are used to cover the walls, as a huge, inscribed pillar seems to hold up the ceiling of the museum itself.
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Sharjah Maritime Museum
The Sharjah Maritime Museum was first opened in the Heritage Area in early 2003 to highlight the maritime life of the UAE. However, due to the importance of the sea and its significance in the region’s heritage, the museum was expanded and relocated in Al Khan in 2009.
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Sharjah Heritage Museum
Set in a restored 18th-century pearl merchant’s house, Sharjah Heritage Museum explores all aspects of Emirati culture, from religious traditions to living in the desert. There are six galleries covering the landscape, lifestyle, celebrations, livelihoods, traditional knowledge and oral traditions of the emirate. The museum presents plenty of interesting objects, including an aftakh – a golden toe ring worn by Bedouin women – with explanations in English and Arabic. Younger visitors will enjoy the engaging folk tales, proverbs and puzzles.
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Sharjah Islamic Museum
Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization features seven galleries spread over two levels. The ground-floor galleries cover aspects of the Islamic faith and the achievements of Arab scientists and astronomers. The upper floors offer a chronological overview of Islamic arts and crafts, including textiles and jewellery. Housed in building every bit as impressive as its collection, the museum is located on the Corniche, just north of the Heart of Sharjah district. Astrolabes, manuscripts, ceramics and coins all vie for your attention but don’t miss the gold-embroidered curtain for the door of the Holy Ka’ba and the mosaic inside the central dome detailing the zodiac constellations.
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Sharjah Archeological Museum
With a treasure trove of pottery, jewellery and weaponry on display, this Sharjah museum uncovers the daily life of ancient inhabitants in the region, far before modern UAE culture. The most significant discoveries in the country are featured in this museum, including a 2,000-year-old golden bridle from Mleiha, findings from a Stone Age graveyard with the skeletons of 500 nomadic herders and a vast collection of Arabic art. For history buffs, this is one of the most important tourist places in Sharjah. For things to do with kids, head to the children’s area which features interactive displays, informative exhibits and films. Call ahead of time to plan your trip during the museum’s summer activities for kids. To get to the museum, take a Sharjah bus with a stop on the Sharjah bus route close by. Or, reach there quicker with a Sharjah taxi.
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Natural History & Botanical Museum
Among all the places to visit in Sharjah, this centre offers the most comprehensive information on species and ecosystems in the Arabian Peninsula. The Natural History & Botanical Museum has displays of fossils, meteorites, taxidermic displays of rare animals and desert ecosystems. The botanical garden also has nearly 100 different species of native plants, making it one of the most florally diverse parks in Sharjah. If you’re looking for things to do with kids, be sure to take a tour of the garden and learn all about flora in the desert habitat. The museum is located in Sharjah Desert Park, one of the don't miss tourist places in Sharjah, which also features a breeding centre for endangered animals, the Islamic Botanical Garden and a petting zoo in the children’s area with several summer activities for kids.
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The Israel Museum
The Israel Museum, Jerusalem is Israel’s largest cultural institution and is ranked among the world’s leading art and archeology museums. Founded in 1965, the Israel Museum, Jerusalem was extensively extended and refurbished reopening in 2010. The focus of the museum is on the art, Judaica and ancient artifacts of the Land of Israel and beyond, featuring the most extensive holdings of Biblical and Holy Land archaeology in the world. The museum has a collection of nearly 500,000 objects, representing a full scope of world material culture. While there is loads to see at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, there are a number of stand-out highlights. The Shrine of the Book houses the Dead Sea Scrolls which are some of the oldest Biblical scrolls ever found. Adjacent to this is an amazing model of Second Temple Era Jerusalem which reconstructs the topography and architectural character of the city as it was prior to its destruction by the Romans in 66 CE.
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Tower of David Museum
The Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem is located in the restored ancient Citadel of the Old City near the Jaffa Gate, the historic main entrance to the city. The museum tells the long and fascinating history of Jerusalem starting from the second millennium BCE and ending with the modern city you see today. The museum’s facade, The Citadel is itself, a fascinating archaeological site, and provides some of the best 360-degree views across the Old City and Modern City available, and comes to life at night with the Tower of David Night Spectacular. As well as its fascinating permanent displays, the museum regularly hosts changing exhibitions as well as lectures, special cultural events and educational programs. The Tower of David Night Spectacular is an incredible sound and light show, the only one of its kind in the world, in which the walls of The Citadel and Old City are brought to life using amazing audio-visual technologies to provide the story of Jerusalem in a unique experience.