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Google digitizes Kenya National Archives enabling virtual tours

Kenya National Archives

Source: Kenya National Archives

The Google Cultural Institute, in collaboration with the Kenya National Archives, has launched the digitised National Archives – an initiative that celebrates and promotes Kenyan history, Africa’s heroes and cultural heritage.

With the digitised national archives, artifacts and historical documents will now be accessible at the click of the button. This means that anyone interacting with the artifacts online will not only come face to face with the history of Kenya and other African countries such as Ethiopia, Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria, but also celebrate African heroes, art and culture.

The Google Cultural Institute – a high-profile world culture project that hosts the world’s cultural treasures online through partnerships with major museums and institutions – will now host more than 1,000 archives and artworks as well as 15 curated exhibits that curators, historians and everyone anywhere can now virtually access the cultural treasures housed by the Kenya National Archives .

“Technology plays a great role in promoting culture in the world we live in today. Not only does it help to conserve art and culture in digital forms that can be accessed from any part of the world, it creates new, interactive and educational ways of storytelling and brings local heritage and history to the fingertips of a global audience. This will go a long way in promoting Kenya as a favourable destination,” said Dr. Hassan Wario – Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts.

The Google Cultural Institute currently supports over 850 cultural institutions from over 60 countries and hosting the digitised Kenya National Archives, biggest digitization effort in Africa so far on The Google Cultural Institute will not only enable users to discover Kenya’s historical treasures in new ways but will help the cultural sector to make the most of digital opportunities.

“The Kenya National Archives owns important material that tells a story about a period of time or event that is rarely put on display. The online exhibitions, therefore, provide a way through which cultural institutions can tell a story around historical material and bring to life a particular event, theme or topic relevant to our history and culture,”  said Google Country Manager, Charles Murito.

The partnership, which is part of Google’s efforts to preserve Africa’s cultural heritage, will also serve to boost the tourism sector by availing novel ways to showcase the country’s culture and history to visitors.

“Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. There is so much rich and important material in the cultural sector to do with art, history and heritage which can only be seen by those lucky enough to visit these institutions. The Cultural Institute is an effort to make important cultural material available and accessible to everyone and to digitally preserve it to educate and inspire future generations,” said Pierre Caessa, Google Cultural Institute’s Program Manager.

Besides the Kenya National Archives, the GoDown Arts Center and Kenya Red Cross (KRCS) are the other two local institutions whose artistic impressions have been hosted at the Google Cultural Institute. The GoDown Arts Centre, a multi disciplinary arts centre based at the heart of Nairobi, hosts over ten arts organisations across disciplines including visual arts, music, dance, innovation through ICT and film production.

The Kenya Red Cross Society’s online exhibition showcases the Kenyans for Kenya (K4K) initiative and beneficiaries whose lives were changed by the project. Following the 2011 drought, the Government declared the drought a National disaster in the country and this saw KRCS launch a nationwide drought appeal, which together with partners raised Kshs 1 Billion.

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The Google Cultural Institute is  free for all and available on all  web browsers, as well as mobile on Android.

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