The National Museums of Kenya (NMK) is one of the most popular tourist attractions for both local and international visitors.
The iconic building possesses a wealth of information on our natural and cultural material, heritage and natural history. Other than housing long-dated history, it also offers a serene atmosphere and expansive grounds with bench spaces as well as a café with a balcony that allows you to have a good view of the trail to the Snake Park and botanical gardens.
Here are some of the interesting facts about this Museum that you did not know:
1. It was founded 109 years ago
The Museum was founded 109 years ago by a group of naturalists who formed a society. They collected various specimens which they kept in their homes. They needed one place to store them when their collections grew in numbers.
2. It was not the first place prehistoric materials were stored
The first site that they stored their prehistory finds was at Nyayo House. The museum was later relocated to another structure that was put up where Nairobi Serena Hotel is today. Several years later, the colonial government constructed a building at Museum Hill.
3. Was first named after Sir Robert Coryndon who was a Governor of Kenya
This monumental site was first named Coryndon Museum to pay respects to Sir Robert Coryndon who was a Governor of Kenya. It was later renamed the National Museums of Kenya right after independence. It manages the 45 museums that we have in the country.
4. Hosts artefacts over two million years old
The Museum hosts artefacts, fossils and nature that traces back to more than two million years. This preserved collection of history is a reason why the country is referred to as the Cradle of Humankind for they tell the story of human origin.
5. It also has a library
It also has a library stocked up with more than 20,000 books. There is a children’s corner library that is mostly frequented during school holidays since the library opens its doors only on weekdays.
6. Preserves thousands of bird species
The Museum preserves more than 1,100 bird species that we have in Kenya. They keep a record of bird migration. The migrating birds usually have rings that have information on the places they have been to. Naturalists capture birds every week, note down the information, including that the birds have been to the country too, and release them. This helps other researchers from different parts of the world to pick up more data.
7. Has the largest and oldest collection of fossils in the world
NMK has some of the largest and oldest collection of fossils in the world. For instance, it has a skeleton of a Turkana Boy that is more than 1.6million years old that is a proof of human origin. Some of these oldest fossils are only allowed to be viewed by dignitaries. To add, the museum has one of the largest collection of specimens of over 2.8million in total.
Have you visited the National Museums of Kenya? How many of these facts did you know of?