A cultural trip can be tagged as incomplete without a check into the museum; thus, this article features the ten best museums to visit when one is likely to being on tour in Nigeria.
Samuel O. Ogunyinka writes…
The nation Nigeria is widely known as a country that is rich in arts, cultures, and traditions as her value cannot be short-sighted by any lens in all art exhibitions in Africa and the world at large. This is because of nothing but the value, the entertainment, the moral, and all which it wraps itself with.
Though, the round globe rolls and all these seem to be winding away with time, except the ones that are stored and kept for referencing in museums that cannot be dared flushed into the dungeon by the flood of time.
Museums according to Merriam Webster dictionary is seen as a building in which interesting and valuable things, such as paintings, sculptures, scientific or historical objects are collected and shown to the public. It can also be said to be an institution dedicated to the acquisition, conservation, study, exhibition, and educational interpretation of objects having scientific, historical scientific, historical, cultural, or artistic value.
Museums in Nigeria are a great source of historical education of which one is supposed to often take a break from the regular restaurants, cinemas, parks, and the likes to visit, as it is one of the best bet where even professional tourists can’t do without.
However, one must ensure to have writing materials or at least a phone or tab that one can type on because there’ll be an influx of information to assimilate on his visit to the museums, perhaps during the weekend or at any leisure time.
There are numbers of these cultural institutions in the country, but below are 10 of the best museums in Nigeria in case one is wondering which museum to visit soon:
- NIGERIA NATIONAL MUSEUM, LAGOS: This notable museum located at Awolowo Road, Onikan, Lagos, has been in existed as far back as 1957 and it opens daily from 6:00 am – 6:00 pm. The Nigeria National Museum, Lagos houses some notable collections of the country’s sculptures, arts, ethnographic and archaeological displays. One will also find some historical statues, carvings, and monuments there.
- JOS MUSEUM: The museum located in Jos Museum Complex very close to the Jos Zoo was founded in 1952 by a man called Bernard Fagg. One can learn a lot about the prehistoric culture of the indigenes there. Also, there is 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.
- NATIONAL WAR MUSEUM, UMUAHIA: The museum established in 1985 opens from 10 am – 6:00 pm in Umuahia in Abia state. It houses notable relics of modern and traditional warfare which are quite significant to the history of Nigeria. The name “War Museum” was given to it because it displays many of the tools and crafts that were used during the Nigeria Civil War. One will also find the Ojukwu bunker, relics of Enugu Coal Miner Riots and Aba Women Riot, and the famous local bombs called Ogbunigwe amongst many other things there.
- NATIONAL MUSEUM, BENIN CITY: The museum is located on King’s Square, at the heart of Benin City and it was founded in 1973. There are a lot of intrinsic artworks that are significant to the Benin Empire such as the famous “Bini” bronze sculptures, cast iron pieces, and the terracotta in there. This museum fully represents the depth and history of the Benin Empire and this will leave one in awe and gratitude.
- NATIONAL MUSEUM, KADUNA: The captivating building recommended to people far and wide is located opposite the Emir of Zazzau’s palace along Ali Akilu Road, Kaduna. The museum established in 1975 houses the terracotta statues, bronzes, and other ethnographic and archaeological artifacts too. It also has structures constructed with the Hausa traditional architecture of mud and thatch, there is also a traditional craft that is around the museum’s premises.
- ESIE MUSIUM: This museum is the first to be established in Nigeria by a then renowned hunter called Baragbon and it is located in Igbomina town of Kwara State. Esie Musium 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. Being the core religious activities in Kwara and hosts a festival in the month of April every year, the museum has a contemporary gallery with a permanent exhibition titled “Indigenous Artwork as Indicators of Cultural Harmony” and outside the museum lays a children’s playground, making it a great place for the children to learn and have fun.
- GIDAN MAKAMA, KANO: The 500-year-old palace which was converted into a museum in Kano has a noteworthy collection of arts, crafts, and items of historic interest to the Kano area. The museum is divided into 11galleries, each with its own centre of focus. However, the galleries in their entirety portray; traditional ‘Kanawa’ artifacts which include pictures, musical instruments, material reflecting traditional architecture, ingenious religions history of Kano in the picture, the Kano Civil War, the colonial period and history of 20th-century political figures, occupation of the people of Kano which includes farm instruments, basketwork, and textiles.
Gidan Makama Museum Kano
- KANTA MUSEUM: The museum in Argungu, Kebbi State was built in 1831. The building was named after Muhammed Kanta, who founded the Kebbi Kingdom in 1515. It serves as the Emir’s palace until 1942 and was later opened as a museum on the 1st of July, 1958. 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. It also contains artifacts that offer great insight into the tumultuous history of Kebbi State.
- NATIONAL MUSEUM OF COLONIAL HISTORY: The museum which is also a national monument was established in the 1890s to serve as a trade station. This notable museum is located at 6 Ikot Ekpene Road, and it collects works relating to the colonial period in nationhood. One will find items like old Nigerian money and relics of the slave trade era as the museum also has knowledgeable curators who are available to answer questions one may have concerning the artifacts.
- OWO MUSEUM: The museum located in Owo, Ondo State was founded in 1968 to accommodate the archaeological remains which were formerly in Olowo’s Palace. The museum contains significant artifacts and ethnographic material discovered in the Owo area which was first excavated in 1969 – 1971 by Ekpo Eyo. The site reflects the artistic traditions of Ife and Benin due to Owo’s location between the two celebrated art centers.
Above are the most notable museums where everyone is welcome for an insightful journey into the history of Nigeria and her culture.