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Arts & Culture

10 Art Museums In Africa You Must Visit

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Inspire Your Heart With Art Day’ is an annual celebration observed on January 31st. The origin of the celebration remains unclear. However, it is a day that gives us the opportunity to ponder on the impact of art on our hearts. The impact of art is felt differently by different people. Some move us to tears while others make us laugh. Consequently, those that evoke the most emotion lives with us throughout our lifetime. Interestingly, there are numerous art museums in Africa that brings together different art forms. But, how many people care to visit them?

Art has the power to inspire our hearts, to change us. There are many ways you can celebrate the ‘Inspire Your Heart With Art Day’. This includes;

  • Visit an art gallery
  • Attend a live theatre performance
  • Read a good book
  • Listen to music
  • Attend a ballet performance
  • Start your masterpiece
  • Teach someone how to play an instrument
  • Attend an art lecture
  • Explore a new technique
  • See an inspirational film
  • Share your art with others

You can also take the campaign to social media using the hashtag #InspireYourHeartWithArtDay. In commemoration of this event, we want to bring you 10 inspiring art museums in Africa. When next you are in African cities with art museums, plan to pay them a visit. In no particular order, let’s go!

#1. The Pretoria Art Museum (South Africa)

The foundation stone for the Pretoria Art Museum was laid on October 19th, 1962. It was initially created to house the growing art collections in the City Hall. At that time, it had only a small collection of artworks by South African artists. However, with other museums across the nation already doing that, The Pretoria Art Museum wanted to be different. In recent years, the museum pays more attention to contemporary developments in South African arts. This urban and rural art as well as traditional art. Inasmuch as South African art remains the main focus, wherever possible, the museum acquires sculptures and paintings from famous international artists.

#2. National Museums of Kenya (Kenya)

This is one of the art museums in Africa with a long history. Its establishment dates back to 1910. However, work on the site of the current museum started in 1929. It was previously called the Coryndon Museum in honor of Sir Robert Coryndon, a former Governor of Kenya. However, after attaining independence, the name was changed to the National Museums of Kenya. The museum houses celebrated collections of Kenya’s history of contemporary art, culture, and nature.

#3. The Grand Egyptian Museum (Egypt)

With over 100,000 artifacts of which about 3,500 belong to King Tutankhamen, The Grand Egyptian Museum has one of the largest collections in North Africa. Located close to the Giza Pyramids, the museum hopes to preserve the Pharaonic history and legacy. The initiative for the design of the museum was from the 2002 international architectural competition by the Ministry of Culture. Consequently, the museum creates an interactive experience for visitors.

#4. The National Bardo Museum (Tunisia)

Undoubtedly one of the art museums in Africa that represents every region of the country. Its collections date back to 40,000 years including the Hermaion of El Guettar—the first temple edified by man to honor the supreme force of the sky. The museum is in an old 19th Century Beylic palace. It contains the largest collection of mosaics in the world. Gallery of Christian baptisteries, Roman sarcophaguses, and large collections of Punic jewels are some of the treasures you will find within.

#5. Rwanda Art Museum (Rwanda)

This is one of the eight museums that constitute the Institute of National Museums of Rwanda. It has a collection of local and international artworks. Consequently, it provides insight into the originality of Rwandan creativity. This museum helps to trace the development of art in the country from olden times to the modern-day. Also, this museum has debris from the ill-fated 1994 presidential jet.

#6. Center for Memories, Enugu (Nigeria)

This is the largest depository dedicated to the Igbo ethnic group of southeastern Nigeria. This is one of the art museums in Africa with sculpture, painting, as well as pictures that traces the history and struggles of the ethnic group. The museum organizes exhibitions and adds new collections regularly. You will also find dates for interesting events when you visit the website.

#7. The Museum of the Zinsou Fondation (Benin Republic)

Opened in November 2013, this museum occupies the Villa Ajavon. Prior to the museum, the Fondation Zinsou established an exhibition center in Cotonou. The museum houses paintings and sculptures spanning three generations. Many famous painters, photographers, and sculptors have a dedicated room for their works. There are also rooms for works from international artists.

#8. The Makumbusho Village Museum (Tanzania)

This is one of the five major museums in the country. It showcases houses constructed with equipment from some of the tribes in the country. Its location in the heart of Dar es Salaam makes it easy to find. Village Museum also has a collection of paintings and photographs in its archives. Visitors also get a wide array of souvenirs to remind them of their visit.

#9. The Cameroon National Museum (Cameroon)

The origin of this museum dates back to 1930s. However, after the country’s independence, the country’s first president, Ahmadou Ahidjo carried out an extension work on the building. The building only got the status as a museum in 2014 following a prime ministerial decree. There are over 850 artifacts on display in the museum. This collection cuts across the different regions of the country.

#10. Museum of Science and Technology (Ghana)

The museum first opened its doors in 1965. However, it was an initiative of two lecturers from the Legon Campus of the University of Ghana. The majority of the visitors are youths. Among the awe-inspiring collections are a piece of stone from the moon and a human heart. The museum also has a library as well as organizes educational activities for children.

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