Top 5 Museums To Visit In Nigeria

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Nigerian history is well documented in its museums. These historical places are well scattered in the country telling the story of it’s environ.  

The Benin museum says a lot about the benin and the colonial era, the Oron museum is the home to some of the oldest carvings in Africa. 

Let’s take a quick tour of these museums in Nigeria. 

Oron Museum

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Oron Museum is home to some of the oldest wood carvings in the continent (known as “Ekpu”) as well as relics from the Nigerian Civil War, including Ojukwu’s bunker. 

It was initially established from 1958-59 but was lost to pillaging during the war. 

It was revived in 1975 and currently exhibits recovered wooden figurines, the cultural heritage of the local people, as well as other rare craftwork and ethnographic materials.

Benin City National Museum

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This museum is home to a large number of Nigeria’s terracotta, bronze, and cast iron artifacts. In the 1940s, what was then the museum was privately located in the Oba’s Palace. It was relocated in the 1970s and became a public center. The museum holds three galleries.

The Benin people were famous for their iron and bronze casting skills. Unfortunately, some of the relics from this time in the city’s history can only be viewed in pictures, as a result of a British offensive in 1897.

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Calabar Old Residency Museum

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This museum wasn’t even built in Nigeria. It was shipped over here in pieces from Scotland, through Morocco, to serve as headquarters for the British colonial administration. 

The Old Residency Museum is truly rich in historical knowledge of Nigeria in pre-colonial and colonial times, particularly with regards to the affluent palm oil trade, as well as the slave trade era. 

A collection of “ritual terracotta” can also be found at the museum.

Records and relics are carefully preserved and exhibited within the museum, which also provides visitors with a lovely scenery.

Esię Museum – Kwara State

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This museum is Nigeria’s first, established in 1945. Its most renowned collection is its soapstone figures (said to be the largest in the world, with about 800 of them). You most likely will hear an interesting legend about the mysterious discovery of the collection upon your visit.

Esiẹ Museum is composed of both old and modern galleries with a combined number of around 2,000 artifacts. The modern gallery was built to accommodate other artifacts besides soapstone figures from different regions in Nigeria. Every April, the museum hosts a “monument festival” to celebrate its cultural history.

Jos Museum

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The Jos Museum is the second museum to be established in Nigeria after the Esie Museum and was in fact originally the country’s national museum. Built in 1952 and located within the city’s hill resort, it is notable for its architectural arrangements and rich collection of exquisitely crafted pottery and ancient Nok terracotta sculptures.

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Also on display are exhibitions of the tin mining and rail systems from Colonial Nigeria. The museum was founded by British archaeologist Bernard Fagg.

Kaduna National Museum

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One interesting thing about this museum is its live craft feature, which allows visitors to watch local craftspeople and artisans working in real time. Crafts, archaeology, and ethnography are central to the museum’s existence. It was established in 1975 and also contains artifacts from the Nok and Igbo-Ukwu cultures.

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