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National Museum of Rwanda

Philip Eichkorn
Written by: Philip Eichkorn Last updated at: February 19, 2024

National Museum of Rwanda

The Ethnographic Museum (formerly the National Museum of Rwanda) was a gift to Rwanda from King Badouin of Belgium in the late 1980s. It now houses one of the finest ethnographic collections in Africa.

Seven galleries display historical, ethnographic, artistic and archaeological artefacts. These are accompanied by visual aids and give visitors a good insight into Rwandan culture.

Exhibits open with geographic and geological displays and then move on to items used in hunting, agriculture, animal husbandry, pottery, weaving and woodworking.

Traditional clothing and architectural methods are also illustrated. The last room displays traditional customs and beliefs, history, culture, poetry and oral tradition. There is also a highly regarded craft centre on site.

The Ethnographic Museum is one of the six museums that together form the Institute of National Museums of Rwanda. The Institute of National Museums of Rwanda is a government institution that began in 1989 on September 18 with the Ethnographic Museum. Since 2004, the Ethnographic Museum has been officially known as the National Museum of Rwanda. After that, many other museums were opened. The Natural History Museum in December 2004, the National Art Gallery of Rwesero in Nyanza opened in 2006 in May, the Royal Palace Museum in Nyanza opened in 2008 in May, the Environmental Museum opened in 2015 in July, and the Presidential Palace Museum in Kanombe in 2009 in February. The goal of the institution is to promote Rwandan cultural tourism, with the main objective of national economic development.