National Museum, Lagos.

By Talatu Kwasu

03 February 2014

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The National Museum in Lagos is Nigeria’s foremost museum, by far the oldest as it was established in 1957. The museum contains a collection of national relics and historical monuments from the country’s precolonial, colonial and post colonial era.

It serves as a venue that gives you the opportunity to appreciate Nigeria’s cultural and political history. There are several galleries at the museum; the brasses made by the Benin people have their own gallery and can be called the “star attraction” as they are very beautiful works of art.

The museum is most popular though, for housing the black Mercedes car in which General Murtala Muhammed, one of Nigeria’s former military rulers, was assassinated in 1976(a gloomy thing yes, but a quite spectacular sight nonetheless). The car, which is on permanent display at the museum, is ridden with bullet holes and it is said that the shattered pieces of glass and blood stain could still be seen in decades past but those have been cleaned up over the years. Another gallery is designated for traditional symbols of power, it contains carved ivory and a collection of royal crowns. The sightly Nok Terracotas get their own gallery as well.

Other artifacts that are sure to attract your interest include sculptures from Ife and traditional art from other parts of Nigeria, great collections in archaeology, ethnography. The museum not only has all these on display, it also provides you with information on the culture and tradition of the people of different tribes in the country.

There is also a crafts centre in the museum where woodcarvings, calabashes with deadal decorations and other handicrafts are available for sale, there is a chance you will get to watch a demonstration of how to make adire(a type of fabric/clothing which is originally made in Abeokuta).

A free tour guide is available on specific days of the week. Also present in the museum compound are the museum Kitchen, the Biodun Omolayo art gallery which contains great artwork by both Nigerian and international artists, a jewellery dealer/goldsmith.

The museum is open Mondays to Saturdays between 9a.m and 5p.m. It is located at Awolowo Road(beside City Mall and opposite Muson Centre), Onikan, Lagos state. Cameras are not allowed in the museum.

A visit to the National Museum promises to not just be a fun one but an educative and inspiring one too, a memorable experience is guaranteed.

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