Nigeria is a culture and traditions rich country and what way to explore and appreciate these cultures, traditions and values than acquiring more knowledge about them.
It is important for a citizen or native of a country to learn about their cultures and traditions, and visiting a museum can open your eyes and take you as far back as possible. This is far better than reading about them online, on the pages of news papers and magazines, or viewing them on your TV screens.
A visit to a museum can be life changing in the sense that it gives you a new perspective into the lives of people, where they are coming from and how far they have gone. It not only educates you on historical and cultural facts, it’s a form of entertainment and exposure getting to see art in different forms on display. Here is a list of the top 7 museums that can teach you almost everything you need to know about Nigeria historically.
The National Museum, Benin City
The National museum was established in 1973 and can be found at kings square, in the middle of Benin city, with artifacts ranging from art related to early times, terra-cotta, iron cast pieces of art and the famous “bini” bronze figures. These artifacts and pieces are related to the old and new Benin empire and have historical significance to them that will expose you to the jaw dropping details of the indigenes of Edo state.
The National Museum, Jos
Established in 1952 by Bernard Fagg, the museum is located in a complex not far from the Jos zoo and has a collection of artifacts that would educate you about the Indigenes of Plateau state. The museum is a vital place to visit for anyone conducting a research into the historical cultures and art as it has on display different ranges of art that would give in-depth knowledge to the researchers.
The museum has on display artifacts and Nok terra-cotta heads dating back to 500 BC and some old articles related to tin mining and railway. It contains the museum of traditional Nigerian architecture with replica of buildings in Kano and a Tiv village. A school for museum technicians and aspiring museum students that was established with help from UNESCO is somewhere in the building. There is also a pottery hall that has beautifully made pottery arts from all over the country on display.
The National Museum, Kaduna
The amazing thing about this museum is that there is a live crafts center where you can observe men and women make crafts right in front of you. This museum which was opened in 1975 came into existence when a building was donated by the north central state government, it was called the northern people’s congress (NPC) building. The museum contains archeological and ethnological artifacts, terra-cotta heads bronzes and a range of crafted items and artifacts. The building is opposite the Emir of Zazzau’s palace, somewhere along Aliu Akilu Road in the capital city of Kaduna state.
Nigeria National Museum, Lagos State
Another collection of artifacts, bronze figures, terra-cotta, carvings, statues and other archeological and ethnological arts can be found in the National museum in Nigeria’s commercial city, Lagos state. This is an opportunity for people in town for business and leisure travel to get a glimpse of the national treasures in form of arts and culture, taking time in the middle of their real reason of visitation to catch some fun and also acquire knowledge. It was established in 1957 by Kenneth Murray and is located at Onikan, Lagos state.
War Museum, Umuahia
This museum holds arts that are significant to the warfare of Nigeria and would expose you to objects of historical interest, modern and traditional, including weapons and tools that were used during the civil war and other major riots in the country. Items used during the civil war, Aba women riot, Enugu coal miner riots and the famous local bomb called “ogbunigwe” among other objects can be seen in this museum. It was established in 1985.
National Museum of Unity, Ibadan
This is a good place to explore the rich cultures and history of Nigeria as their relics contain collection of arts, culture and history that defines Nigeria historically. It is Located in the heart of the ancient city of Ibadan and opened on the 4th of April 2002. The National museum of unity is home to historical artifacts from all over the country. The museum has 4 galleries, the unity gallery : which contains arts from all over the country, the masquerade gallery: holding various masquerade arts and a collection of masks from different tribes and ethnic groups all over the country, pottery gallery: which consists of a collection of ceramic vessels that served different purposes, and the Yoruba gallery: with arts that depicts the history of the Yoruba race.
National Gallery of Modern Art, Lagos
From the name of this museum, you can tell that it houses a collection of work of arts from different types of artistes in the country. It is managed by The Federal ministry of Tourism, culture and national orientation and is located in the National Arts Theatre. It has several sections which has different kinds of art works on display ranging from contemporary art ( bronze bursts by Ben Osawe) and colorful abstract canvasses. The portrait gallery area contains pictures of prominent artistes like Hubert Ogungbe and Aina Onobolu, other pictures are that of Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka and the portraits of all heads of state, modern and ancient.
Other sections include arts like Nok terra-cotta, glass painting and textile art which can be insured by traditional Nigerian ethnic groups, folklore’s and relics of traditional symbols and patterns. Spending your holiday touring these museums would not be a bad idea and it doesn’t matter if you live within or outside the shores of Nigeria, native or foreigner, as long as you have interest in historical arts, traditional collection of crafts and rich historical stories, you should visit these museums.
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