Uganda museum situated in northern part of Kampala on Kitante hill is the biggest and largest museum in Uganda. The museum displays and showcases a remarkable collection of Uganda artifacts spanning over 2 million years ago, traditional culture, archaeology, history science and natural science are displayed in the museum purposely for the present generation to learn and understand the past events of Uganda and evolution of human beings. Uganda museum is situated 5 kilometers from Kampala the capital city of Uganda.
Uganda museum established by the British protectorate government is the oldest museum in east Africa aged 110 years, it was found established in 1908 following the efforts of Governor George Wilson who called for all articles of interest on Uganda to be procured. The museum started as a small Sikh temple on old Kampala at fort Lugard, between the period of 1920 and 1940s Church Hill, E. J. Wayland, Bishop J. Wilson, P. L. Shinnie, E. Lanning, and several others carried out archaeology and paleontological surveys where a collection of significant artifacts were collected and put in the museum. Because of too many specimens collected the premises for the museum become too small to accommodate them, in 1941 it was moved to Margret trowel school of fine art at makerere University College. In 1954 after raising funds for the construction of a permanent establishment the museum was moved kitante hill which is its current location.
A visit to Uganda museum will take you through Uganda’s many culture filled and colorful past giving you a chance to relieve those wonderful moments. Uganda museum a gem for Uganda’s heritage, indigenous culture, archeology, history, and science and nature history is made up of sections/ galleries which exhibits respectively aspects of Uganda.
Traditional musical section
The traditional music sector consists of a collection of traditional music instruments which visitors to the museum are free to play, this section is usually referred to as the music gallery. It displays a comprehensive traditional musical instruments which originate from different parts of Uganda and played by different tribal groups, these instruments are arranged depending on the major groups of music instruments that is drums, percussion, wind and string instruments such as lyres, xylophone, harps and tube-fiddles.
The archaeological section showcases parts of the Stone Age and Iron Age, in this section you get to see tools which were used 1,000,000 years ago. Tools such as stones axes, stone bows used for hunting, bone, woods and stones used for cutting, you will get to see how they evolved into modern tools that are being used today by Ugandans. This same section show cases the evolvement of man from the pre-history period, through the history of apes, from our ancestors up to our present today human state. The involvement process is exhibited by pictures, ancient used tools, bones and skull which are display.
Independence pavilion section
The independence pavilion of science and industry exhibits items which were used as Uganda was granted independence from the British colonialists on 9th October 1962, such items include car which was used on the grand ceremony.
The communication section show cases how people used to communicate and the items they used, such items the horn which was blown in case of emergencies, the drum and the first telephone mode to be seen in east Africa.
Ethnography section showcases more than 100,000 items which are of historical and cultural value, these items include
- the traditional reed door which leads to ethnography gallery,
- backcloth, gomesi and kanzu outfits which is a traditional wear in most Uganda cultures
- wooden stools from different tribal groups of Uganda
- Traditional items which were used in administering justice in the society and
- The first printing press in Uganda
This section show cases all aspects about environmental and climatic nature of Uganda, painting of early settlements inn Uganda, archaeological excavations and traditional architecture. Upon visiting this section you will learn and know more about Uganda as it hosts fossils aged about 20,000,000 years ago. Uganda museum carries out never ending research with collaborations from institutes such as Mbarara University, Makerere University, College de Franca, Natural History Museum in Paris and the University of Michigan and the findings from the research are displayed in section. Displayed findings include Uganda pithecus a fossil skull of a remote cousin of Hominidae which is a fossil ape aged between 19 and 20 million years ago discovered in Napak.
Library section of Uganda national museum hosts rare books section which contains a number of first signed editions such as
- volumes from personal collections of Dr. Albert Cook
- A complete collection of the Uganda journal published by the society since 1934, this collection was completed after a generous donation from Guy Yeoman’s widow in 1999. The Uganda society states that one third of the books in this collection are rare books which are not available in Uganda’s public sections such books include John Roscoe’s treatises on the tribes of Uganda.
Science industry section
This section exhibits stones, minerals such as limestone, phosphate tin, iron, wolfram and many more, rocks which are found in Uganda. You also get to see different means of transport which were used in past events such as dhows and canoes which were used by the Arabs as they crossed into Uganda and the litter that was used as a carriage for Ugandan kings and queens as they moved in their kingdoms. The background of agriculture is also showed in science and industry section, among the showcase include banana plantations in the central Uganda (Buganda kingdom), sorghum farming in kigezi hills and millet farming in the northern region of Uganda.
There is also a display of distinct species of mammals like Long- horned buffalo and the Indian Elephant.
As you visit Uganda museum, you are ushered in by fascinating portraits of photos, calendars, posters of different geographical features, animals, birds and insects of Uganda which are displayed at the entrance and behind the reception desk. As you go past the reception you enter a lobby which has directions to different sections of the museum, still in the lobby you will see the display of photographs of historical human interest from many African countries including Uganda itself. These displayed pictures have small notes explaining their significance historically and they include
- Fossilized pre-human foot prints which were found in Tanzania at Lactoli, the foot prints are said to be aged 3.7 million years and were found buried in hardened volcanic ash.
- The evolution and history of the rift valley
- Lake Baringo basin in Kenya
Outside the Uganda museum building at the back, there is a cultural village which is dotted with huts portraying the traditional life styles of tribal people of Uganda. It is inn this cultural village where a visitor gets to experience the indigenous lifestyle of Ugandans and their ways of life through displayed cultural items like Ebyanzi “milk pots made out of wood”, leather works, armory including shields and spears, gourd vessels, basketry, horn and bead work, ceramics and musical equipments like drums and many more.
Cultural village also hosts houses belongs to different tribes of Uganda, in these house you get to find interesting cultural items belongs to these tribes. These house are built according to the region and include.
Western region houses include
Batooro House or Tooro house belonging to batooro tribe contains beddings such as the makeshift wooden bed, the backcloth blanket, royal drums and many more.
Hima House belonging to bahima has milk gourds which are used in preparing milk and long horns depicting the long horned cattle that was dominate in the Hima kraals, there is also a lotion made out of milk which they used to smear a would be bride.
Ankole House belonging to Banyankole contains clay made cooking utensils such as pots, bowls and the precious mingling stone which was used in the preparation of millet bread.
Eastern region houses include
Busoga House belonging to Basonga people contain royal regalia like drums, spears and many more.
Bugisu House belong to gishu people contains circumcision tools such as headgear, knives and many regalia.
Teso House belongs to itesots contains calabashes which are used in brewing and drinking the popular local brew “malwa”, mingling stones and pots which are used in preparing kalo one of the main food in Teso society.
Karamojong House belong to the Karamojong’s contains sticks used in rearing their cattle, stools and many more.
Northern Uganda houses include Acholi House, Lango House, Alur House and Madi House
Central Uganda house include only Baganda house which belongs to the Baganda people found in central Uganda, in this house you will find a black cloth, drums, baskets used in preparing luwombo, hunting nests, emikalabanda “wooden sandals” and omweso “board game” a game for the intelligent Baganda men
Uganda museum is open to all visitors throughout the year and has excellent and professional guides to take all through each aspect exhibited in the museum, though during the festival season in the month of December it receives a lot of foreign tourists.
Visit the Uganda museum and learn more about Uganda’s fascinating past.