Nairobi National Museum is located at the Museum Hill,approximately 10 minutes drive from the Nairobi city centre. It is the flagship museum housing some of the most celebrated collections of history, culture and art from Kenya and East Africa. The museum aims to interpret heritage of Kenya to stimulate appreciation and learning. This museum is open daily (including public holidays) from 0830hrs -17300hrs.
The Museum was initiated in 1910 by the then East Africa and Uganda Natural History Society [currently the East African Natural History Society (EANHS)]. The group consisted mainly of colonial settlers and naturalists who needed a place to keep and preserve their collections of various specimens. Its first site was at the present Nyayo House in the Nairobi city centre. The site soon became small and a larger building was put up in 1922 where the Nairobi Serena Hotel now stands.
In 1929, the colonial government set aside land at the Museum Hill and construction work started at the current site. It was officially opened in Sept. 22 1930 and named Coryndon Museum in honour of Sir Robert Coryndon, one time Governor of Kenya and a staunch supporter of Uganda Natural History Society. On the attainment of independence in 1963, it was re-named the National Museum of Kenya (NMK).
On October 15th 2005, previous Nairobi Museum closed its doors to the public for an extensive modernization and expansion project that is now complete. The outcome is impressive; the Nairobi Museum has been transformed into a magnificent piece of architecture that puts it in competition with other world class museums.
The artworks, the materials used in the fabrication of outdoor sculptures, the landscaping and the botanic gardens, link to the three pillars of Kenya’s national heritage i.e. nature, culture and history. A welcoming ambience of harmony between the galleries, the non gallery spaces, the museum landscape and its entrances, make museum visits more exciting.
The galleries have been reorganised to interpret the heritage of Kenya to stimulate appreciation and learning. To capture the feel of diversity and interactivity, there are mixed galleries to show the personality of the new museum. Under the nature pillar, there are 5 exhibitions. These are Human origins, Mammalian Radiation, Ecology of Kenya, Natural Diversity and Geology. Under Culture, the exhibitions include Cycles of Life, Cultural Dynamism and Creativity. The history pillar has two exhibitions: Kenya Before 1850 and History of Kenya.