The recently renovated Nairobi National Museum is a good place to learn
more about Kenya's history and culture. The construction of the
present Museum Hill site began in 1929 after the government set aside
the land for it.
The Museum was officially opened on September 22, 1930, and
named Coryndon Museum, in honour of Sir Robert Coryndon, one time
governor of Kenya and a staunch supporter of the Uganda Natural History
With the opening of the museum, the society moved its extensive
library into the Museum complex.
Part of this collection made
the foundation collection for what is now the Herbarium. In the early
forties and fifties, the late Dr. Louis Leakey made a public appeal for
funds to enlarge the Museum's galleries.
The result was the
construction of all the present galleries to the right of the main
These were named in honour of the Nairobi community
members who made their contributions for the construc-tion. Today, one
finds the Mahatma Gandhi Hall, the Aga Khan and the Churchill Gallery
In the early sixties the Nairobi Snake Park was built
with the aim to educate the public about snakes and the common reptiles
of Kenya. The Snake Park continues to be a big attraction in the
In 1964, the Coryndon Museum changed its name to the
National Museums of Kenya.
Beginning from 1969, the Museum expanded its
services and assets beyond Nairobi, and established museums in Kitale,
Meru, Kisumu, Lamu and Fort Jesus in Mombasa.
In addition, the
Institute of Primate Research is also closely associated with the
Museum. Each of these regional museums has its own identity and
develops its own programmes, and are run under the office of the
Director for Regional Museums, Sites & Monuments.
post 1969 period, the Museums have grown and diversified. The Leakey
Memorial building was opened in 1976 and houses the administration,
archeology and palaeontology departments.
The building also houses an
auditorium with a sitting capacity of roughly 300 people which serves
to hold different Museum functions. Also during this period, research
and development programmes were developed and initiated.
included cooperation with the University of Nairobi and the Institute
of African Studies, specialising in ethnography and cultural
The Education department initiated programmes for the
thousands of school children who visit the Museums every year. The
Casting Department sells casts of important fossil discoveries to
Museums worldwide, both for study and for exhibition.
For more information on National Museums of Kenya visit www.museums.or.ke