Museums are an interesting part of history—they are pictorial evidence of past events. These museums are not just buildings; they are a significant part of the lives and happenings of our forefathers and a representation of who they were, how they lived, and the kinds of lifestyles they exhibited.
In addition, these structures are also a storehouse for equipment, sculptures, and or materials used by these past generations, which are an important part of our heritage.
History has it that the earliest and oldest museum to be founded in Nigeria, the Esie Museum, was founded by Hunter Baragbon in 1945, beginning the country’s history of museums. One of the major tourist locations in the nation, this gallery is considered to have the largest collection of soapstone artwork and photographs in the world.
Nigeria has more than 40 registered museums and galleries that are dispersed throughout the country’s 36 states, particularly in cities like Benin and Calabar in the south, and Kaduna and Kano in the north. Popular museums in Lagos, where many people go, also contribute to promoting and serving as a reminder of the people’s rich cultural history.
In this piece, I will be exploring the top 10 museums in Nigeria that you can visit either as a tourist or a researcher or as someone looking for a relaxing location.
National Museum, Onikan, Lagos
The National Museum is known as the oldest and most visited museum in Nigeria, which is located at onikan on the Island of Lagos. Since its founding in 1957, it has been dedicated to keeping historical artefacts safe. It is one of the Nigerian museums with a large collection of artwork, archaeological finds, and ethnographic displays.
Thus, the Mercedes Benz Saloon Car driven by the former military head of state, General Murtala Muhammad, is one of the artefacts on show at the museum gallery. The car used as evidence is flawlessly preserved and displays the bullet holes that serve as a reminder of Murtala’s murder in 1976.
Another old museum in Nigeria is the Jos Museum. The capital city of Plateau State is Jos, where the Jos Museum was founded in 1952. The Nok terracotta heads and other artefacts, which date from between 500 BC and AD 200, are among the many prehistoric works of art from Nigeria that are kept in the museum.
Furthermore, the Museum of Traditional Nigerian Architecture, which is part of the Jos Museum, features life-size replicas of several structures, including the Kano city walls, the mosque in Zaria, and a Tiv hamlet.