Maybe you’ve been to the MoMA in New York City or one of the Smithsonians in DC… but have you ever seen any of the world-class museums in Africa? In honor of International Museum Day, check out this list of some of the most intriguing museums on the continent:
1. Mandela House, Soweto, South Africa:
Visit the house Nelson Mandela and his family lived in from 1946 through to the 1990s, and you’ll be able to learn about the family, as well as what their lives were like during Apartheid.
2. Nigerian National Museum, Lagos, Nigeria
Established in 1957 by the English archaeologist Kenneth Murray, this museum features Nigerian art as well as ethnographic exhibits. Don’t forget to stop by the museum’s crafts village, where you can buy woodcarvings and more!
3. Zinsou Foundation Museum, Villa Ajavon, Ouidah, Benin
The first museum devoted to African contemporary art to open in sub-Saharan Africa outside of South Africa, this museum focuses on the preservation of African artistic heritage in the land of its origins.
4. Nairobi National Museum, Nairobi, Kenya
Open every day of the year and located just ten minutes from Nairobi’s center, this museum celebrates Kenya’s rich heritage with an art gallery, as well as beautiful architecture and serene botanical gardens.
5. Bo Kaap Museum, Cape Town, South Africa
Known for the vibrant houses pictured above, the Bo Kaap area of Cape Town became home to many Muslims and freed slaves after the abolition of slavery in 1834 and is the historical center of Cape Malay culture. This museum explores the history of the area and the people who lived there.
6. Bulawayo Railway Museum, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
Train enthusiasts shouldn’t miss this museum, which explores the history of railways in Zimbabwe and Rhodesia. See steam and diesel electric locomotives and a number of smaller exhibits at this spot, which has been in operation since 1972.
7. Village Museum, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
This unique, open-air museum consists of 19 authentically recreated houses, each demonstrating the ways of living for the different ethnic groups across Tanzania. Don’t miss the traditional music and dance performances in the afternoons!