Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

East Africa: Museums

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_1249

Introduction and Historical Background

The first East African museums, like other early museums in Africa, were introduced during colonial times. They were started either by amateurs or professionals interested in particular scientific disciplines such as earth sciences, botany and zoology, archaeology and paleontology, and ethnography or by colonial governments as places of study, collecting and exhibiting nature, and/or local people’s cultural heritage.

The museums in East Africa were at the beginning all located in the big capital cities notably Nairobi in Kenya, Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, and Kampala in Uganda. These often took the form of natural history museums with strong ethnographic component to depict “the natives and their cultures,” the geology and land forms, and nature in “its raw form” of animals and plants. This was mostly for the colonialist administration and settler communities’ consumption and enjoyment.

The museum was seen as a mirror of local traditional society...

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Further Reading

  1. Abungu, G.H.O. 1996. Forte Jesus de Mombaça: Poder, autoridade e conflito. Oceanos 28: 96-102.Google Scholar
  2. - 1997. Museums, archaeology and the public in Kenya, in C. Ardouin (ed.) Museums & archaeology in West Africa: 142. Washington (DC): Smithsonian Institution Press.Google Scholar
  3. - 2001a. Museums: arenas for dialogue or confrontation? ICOM News 54(3).Google Scholar
  4. - 2001b. Cambiamenti in atto limiti e tendeze della museologia Africa, in Etnosistemi, Processi e Dinamiche Culturali VIII (8). Roma: Centro d’Informazione e Stampa Universitaria (CISU).Google Scholar
  5. - 2002. Opening up new frontiers: museum of the 21st century, in P. Agren & S. Nyman (ed.) Museum 2000: contribution or challenge?: 37-43. Stockholm: ICOM Sweden and Swedish Museum Association.Google Scholar
  6. - 2004a. Universal museums. ICOM News 57(1).Google Scholar
  7. - 2004b. Democratising museums and heritage: ten years on. SAMAB 30: 3-5.Google Scholar
  8. - 2006. Africa and its museums: changing of pathways?, in B. Hoffman (ed.) Arts and cultural heritage law for the 21st century: 386-93. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  9. - 2008. Universal museums: new contestations, new controversies, in M. Gabriel & J. Dahl (ed.) Utimut. Past heritage – future partnerships. Copenhagen: IWGIA/NKA.Google Scholar
  10. - 2011. Africa’s rich intangible heritage: managing a continent’s diverse heritage, in P. Davis et al. Safeguarding intangible heritage: 57-70. Newcastle: University of Newcastle.Google Scholar
  11. Abungu, G.H.O. & L. Abungu. 1998. Saving the past in Kenya: urban and monument conservation. African Archaeological Review 15: 4.Google Scholar
  12. - (ed.). 2006. Africa: a continent of achievements (UNESCO Museum International 229-30). Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  13. Abungu, G.H.O., L. Abungu, D. Coulson, N. Pavitt, A. Fisher & C. Beckwith. 2009. Lamu. Kenya’s enchanted island. New York: Rizzoli.Google Scholar
  14. Ardouin, C. & E. Arinze. 1995. Museum and the community in West Africa. Oxford: James Currey.Google Scholar
  15. - 2000. Museums and history in West Africa. Oxford: James Currey.Google Scholar
  16. Farah, I. 2006. National museums of Kenya, in G.H.O. Abungu & L. Abungu (ed.) Africa: a continent of achievements (UNESCO Museum International 229-30). Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  17. Konare, A.O. 1995. The creation and survival of local museums, in C. Ardouin & E. Arinze Museums and the community in West Africa. Oxford: James Currey.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Okello Abungu Heritage Consultants (Director General Emeritus, National Museum of Kenya)NairobiKenya