Museums are buildings or institutions that care for and display a collection of artifacts and other objects of artistic, cultural, historical, or scientific importance. Many public museums make these items available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary.
They are non-profit institutions dedicated to preserving and interpreting the primary tangible evidence of humankind and the environment. The traditional function of art museums in Africa is to collect, preserve, interpret, and present works of art, and to inspire and educate the public.
An art museum specializes in works of art ranging from paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, and others, which are separated into different smaller spaces called galleries. And often times the contents of a gallery will contain works that are similar in style, medium, time period, or by artist.
To enhance mutual respect among people in global community, art museums and galleries play a crucial role, because individuals often encounter other cultural traditions through those exhibitions and programs they offer.
Tips For Visiting An Art Museum
Are you human? Do you have feelings? Are you moved by arts? Great – you belong in cultural spaces like art museums. We are going to guide you through the tips for visiting an art museum, so you don’t feel excluded by what you don’t know.
Firstly, you can’t see everything in an art museum, it’s impossible. Even the smallest museums have way too many things for your brain to consider at once. So, you go little and go often. Visit your favorite sculptures and say “hi”.
Going further, you can scan the room and see what catches your eye. Don’t spend time on one particular portrait that doesn’t excite you, you might easily get fatigue, so it’s advised that you try to scan the room as quick as possible for things that catch your eye.
And then you look at the work of art for a minute without judgment, just take some time to look at it and read the label, you could get an auto-guide or look for more information online if the art seems to be confusing.
If you don’t like what you see, keep an open mind but don’t loudly complain about it because someone else might really appreciate that work of art. So, it is also important to understand the etiquette and the rules of a museum in order to make visitors comfortable and prevent damage to collections, especially when you see an “Absolutely Not” sign, it is assumed to be off limits.
Take pictures, but not too many. In other words, take a photo of the label so you can find out more about the picture later on. But go easy – don’t take photos of everything because it distracts you from looking closely to the art and appreciating it.
Lastly, avoid crowds if you can and if possible, go alone. In fact, it is best advised that you go alone cause your interest can be different from your friends. And to avoid crowds, try going early or late to popular museums, or on the weekdays.
10 Best Art Museums In Africa You Must Visit
The impact of art is felt differently by different people. Some move to tears while others makes us laugh. Interestingly, there are various art museums in Africa that brings together different art forms. And here are the best art museums to visit in Africa;
- The Pretoria Art Museum
- National Museums of Kenya
- The Grand Egyptian Museum
- The National Bardo Museum
- Rwanda Art Museum
- Center for Memories, Enugu
- The Museum of the Zinsou Foundation
- The Makumbusho Village Museum
- The Cameroon National Museum
- Museum of Science and Technology
The Pretoria Art Museum
The Pretoria Art Museum in South Africa in Arcadia Park occupies an entire city block bounded by Park Street, Wessels Street, Frances Baard Street and Johann Street.
The foundation stone for the Pretoria Art Museum was laid on October 19th, 1962, at that time, it had only a small collection of art works by South African artists and it was initially created to house the growing art collections in the City Hall.
In recent years, the museum pays more attention to contemporary developments in South Africa arts, in as much as South African art remains the main focus, wherever possible, the museum acquires sculptures and paintings from famous international artists.
National Museums of Kenya
This is one of the best art museums in Africa with a long history, and its establishment dates back to 1910. However, there is a work on the site of National Museums of Kenya that started in 1929, which was previously called the Coryndon Museum was laid in honor of Sir Robert Coryndon who is a former governor of Kenya.
However, after attaining independence, the name was changed to the National Museums of Kenya, and the museum houses celebrated collections of Kenya’s history of contemporary art, culture, and nature.
The Grand Egyptian Museum
The Grand Egyptian Museum has one of the largest collections in North Africa, with over 100,000 artifacts facts of which about 3,500 belong to King Tutankhamen. Which is located close to the Giza Pyramids, the museums hope to preserve the Pharaonic history and legacy.
The initiative for the design of the museum was from the 2002 international architectural competition by the Ministry if Culture. Consequently, the museum creates an interactive experience for visitors.
The National Bardo Museum
Undoubtedly, it is one of the best art museums in Africa that represents every region of the country. Its collections date back to 40,000 years including the Hermaion of El Guettar- the first temple edified by man to honor the supreme force of the sky.
The museum is in an old 19th century Beylic palace. It contains the largest collection of mosaics in the world. Gallery of Christian baptisteries, Roman sarcophaguses, and large collections of Punic jewels are some of the treasures you with find within.
Rwanda Art Museum
Rwanda art museum is one of the best art museums in Africa and it’s also one of the eight museums that constitute the Institute of National Museums of Rwanda, which has a collection of local and international artworks.
This museum helps to trace the development of art in the country from olden times to the modern-day. Also, it has debris from the ill-fated 1994 presidential jet. Consequently, the museum provides insight into the originality of Rwadan creativity.
Center for Memories, Enugu
This is one of the best art museums in Africa with sculpture, painting, as well as pictures that traces the history and struggles of the ethnic group in Nigeria.
Center for memories is the largest depository dedicated to the Igbo ethnic group of south-eastern Nigeria. And the museum organizes exhibitions and adds new collections regularly, with dates for interesting events when you visit the website.
The Museum of the Zinsou Foundation
This is one of the best art museums in Africa which is located in the Benin Republic, the museum opened in November 2013 and it occupies the Villa Ajavon.
There are rooms for works from international artists, where many famous painters, photographers, and sculptors have a room for their works. Prior to the museum, the Foundation Zinsou established an exhibition center in Cotonou.
The Makumbusho Village Museum
The Makumbusho Village Museum is one of the best art museums in Africa which is located in Tanzania, it is also one of the five major museums in the country which showcases houses constructed with equipment from some of the tribes in the country.
Visitors get a wide array of souvenirs to remind them of their visit because its location is in the heart of Dar es Salaam makes it easy to find. And the village museum has a collection of paintings and photographs in its archives.
How would you describe an art museum?
An art museum is a building or space for the display of art, usually from the museum’s own collection. It might be in public or private ownership and may be accessible to all or have restrictions in place.
Why should art be in museums?
When you view art in museum, studies have shown that it can lead to a decrease in cortisol, the stress hormone. Visiting a museum actually reduces stress, looking at art gives us greater empathy as we strive to understand the context of the artwork and the events and emotions surrounding the piece.
this article is for you, if your human, you have feelings, thoughts and is moved by arts. So read on and get more insights on the best art museums in Africa.