Museums in Nairobi

Museums in Nairobi

The various museums in Nairobi are often overlooked gems that offer a fascinating insight into Kenya’s history, cultures, and traditions.

The museums may not be stuffed full of ancient artifacts  – those were all stolen and shipped away to Europe. But they’re charming, informative, and each one focuses on a unique aspect of Kenya’s past and present.

Whether you’re living in Nairobi or just passing through, set aside a few hours to explore each museum


Nairobi national museum

Museums are places of discovery, contemplation and learning: The Institution of National Museums of Kenya is anchored on four pillars notably culture, history, arts and nature. The Nairobi National Museum is only 20 minutes from the Central Business District.

Nairobi National Museum

serves as the headquarters of all museums in Kenya and hosts numerous permanent and temporary exhibitions dedicated to Kenyan history, particularly the country’s struggle for independence.

Other attractions include the art gallery, prehistoric displays, Botanical Gardens, and the Nature Trail (home to the largest python in Kenya).

Nairobi National Museum also has a terrace restaurant where you can relax and sample some delicious Kenyan food.

Kenya Railway museum

Like all British colonies, the railway played a crucial role in Kenyan history.

Kenya Railway Museum was opened in 1971 to celebrate the legacy of rail travel in Kenya and educate visitors on the surreal history of the Lunatic Express (the nickname for the rail line that joined Kenya’s coast to Kampala, Uganda).

You explore exhibits from the defunct East African Railways, including various steam locomotives and props from the ‘Out of Africa’ movie.

The museum is also home to Nairobi’s only dedicated street art gallery

Bomas of Kenya

‘Boma’ is the Swahili word for homestead.

At Bomas of Kenya, you can visit recreations of the traditional homesteads of Kenya’s many tribes. Each section is unique, making Bomas of Kenya a great way to learn about the diverse tribes who populate Kenya and their cultures and traditions.

Kenya’s tribes are also celebrated through music, crafts, architecture, and dance. The museum also has the largest auditorium in Kenya and hosts regular cultural events

Kenya national Archives

Kenya National Archives is the most extensive Pan-African art gallery, hosting ancient art collections from across the continent.

Opened in 1965, the archives are split into two sections. The Library is home to fascinating artifacts, old magazines, newspapers from Kenyan history. The Murumbi Gallery hosts art exhibitions, with works displayed from across Africa.

The National Archives provide a fascinating insight into life in Kenya in previous decades.

The Nairobi Gallery

The Nairobi Gallery is probably the most overlooked museum in Nairobi. Opened in 2005, it’s both a national monument and an art gallery.

Nairobi Gallery focuses on hosting temporary art exhibitions with an African theme. It’s open everyday, even on holidays and weekends.

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