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Museums in Nigeria are a great source of entertainment and historical education. Sometimes, you need a break from the regular restaurants, cinemas, parks and the likes. A museum is one of your best bets! Wondering what museum to visit during the weekends or holidays? Nigeria has many and they carry a significant amount of historical information. When visiting any museum, be sure to have writing materials or at least a phone or tab that you can type on because there’ll definitely be an influx of information to assimilate. Below are the top 10 museums in Nigeria.
1. Nigerian National Museum, Lagos
Located at Awolowo Road, Onikan, Lagos, the Nigerian National Museum houses some notable collections of the country’s sculptures, arts, ethnographic and archaeological displays. You will also find some historical statues and carvings and monuments here. This museum was founded in 1957 and it opens daily from 6:00 am – 6:00 pm.
2. Jos Museum
Jos Museum was founded in 1952 by a man called Bernard Fagg. The museum is located in the Jos Museum Complex very close to the Jos Zoo. You can learn a lot about the prehistoric culture of the indigenes here. There is also a pottery Hall in the museum which boasts of an exceptional collection of daintily crafted pottery from all over Nigeria, especially the Nok Terracotta heads which date back to 500 BC. Tucked in the museum is a school of learning for Museum technicians and enthusiasts.
3. National War Museum, Umuahia
Established in 1985, the National War Museum in Umuahia houses some extra-ordinary relics of modern and traditional warfare which are quite significant to the history of Nigeria. It is called a war museum because it has on display many of the tools and craft that were used during the Nigerian Civil War. You will find here the Ojukwu bunker, relics of Enugu Coal Miner Riots and Aba Women Riot and the famous local bombs called Ogbunigwe amongst many other things. The museum opens from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm and attracts an entrance fee of N200.
4. National Museum, Benin City
Benin City National museum was established in 1973. There are a lot of intrinsic artworks which are significant to the Benin Empire such as the famous ‘Bini’ bronze sculptures, cast iron pieces and the terracotta. This museum fully represents the depth and history of the Benin Empire and this will leave you in awe and gratitude. The museum is located on King’s Square, at the heart of the city.
5. National Museum, Kaduna
Established in 1975, the museum is located opposite the Emir of Zazzau’s palace along Ali Akilu Road in Kaduna. It houses the terracotta statues, bronzes and other ethnographic and archaeological artefacts too. It also has structures constructed with the Hausa traditional architecture of mud and thatch. The museum is a captivating building recommended to people from far and wide. There is also a traditional craft village that is around the museum’s premises.
6. Esie Museum
Located in the Igbomina town of Kwara state, this museum was the first to be established in Nigeria. It was opened in 1945 and the statues in this museum were discovered in 1775 and are reputed to be the largest collection of soapstone images in the world. In modern times the Esie museum has been the core of religious activities in Kwara and hosts a festival in the month of April every year. This museum was founded by a then renowned hunter called Baragbon. The museum has a contemporary gallery with a permanent exhibition titled “Indigenous Artworks as Indicators of Cultural harmony” and outside the museum lays a children’s playground. It’ll be a great place for the children to learn and have fun.
7. Gidan Makama, Kano
Gidan Makama was a 500-year-old palace in Kano before it was converted into a museum. It has a noteworthy collection of arts, crafts and items of historic interest to the Kano area. The museum is divided into 11 galleries, each with their own centre of focus. However, the galleries in their entirety portray:
- Traditional ‘Kanawa’ artefacts which include, pictures, musical instruments and materials reflecting traditional architecture.
- Indigenous religious history of Kano in pictures.
- The Kano Civil war.
- The colonial period and history of 20th-century political figures.
- Occupations of the people of Kano which includes farm instruments, basketwork and textiles.
8. Kanta Museum
Kanta Museum is a museum in Argungu, Kebbi State Nigeria, adjacent to the main market. Built in 1831, the building was named after Muhammed Kanta, who founded the Kebbi Kingdom in 1515. It served as the Emir’s palace until 1942 and was later opened as a museum on the 1st of July, 1958. The museum contains artefacts which offer great insight into the tumultuous history of Kebbi State. The museum is divided into 11 compartments which boast of a notable collection of weapons like charms, spears, swords local guns, wood, stones, bows and arrows among others.
9. National Museum of Colonial History
This notable museum is located at 6 Ikot Ekpene Road, Aba, Abia and was opened in 1985. The museum’s building, which is also a national monument, was brought in the 1890’s to serve as a trade station. The museum collects works relating to the colonial period in Nigeria and the country’s path to nationhood. You will find items like old Nigerian money and relics of the slave trade era. The museum has knowledgeable curators who are available to answer questions you may have concerning the artifacts.
10. Owo museum
Owo Museum is located in Owo, Ondo State Nigeria. The museum was founded in 1968 to accommodate the archaeological remains which were formerly in the Olowo Palace. The museum contains significant artifacts and ethnographic materials discovered in the Owo area which was first excavated in 1969-1971 by Ekpo Eyo. Due to Owo’s location between the two celebrated art centers of Ife and Benin, the site reflects artistic traditions from both towns. The museum opens on weekdays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Above are Nigeria’s most notable museums. Nigerians, as well as foreigners, are welcome for an insightful journey into the history of Nigeria.
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