The National Museum of Rwanda is located in Butare Town about 130km south of Kigali Capital City. The Museum occupies over 20 hectares of land. The buildings take up to 9,000 square metre of land with the remaining land being occupied by gardens with indigenous vegetation and the traditional craft training centre. The museum which was built in the late 1980s is a good source of information on the cultural history of Rwanda and the region. The museum is the best ethnographic museum of East Africa that reflects the time spirit at the end of the 19th Century when the East African kingdoms came into contact with the first Europeans. It reflects the traditional rich life and culture together with the subsequent growth during history of Rwanda
Documents and other contains of the Museum
The museum contains the following;
- Historical materials,
- Architectural ethnographic displays of art objects
- Artifacts documenting agriculture hunting fishing, basketry, pottery, textiles, wood carving and metallurgy.
- Gardens contain indigenous vegetation and a traditional craft training centre
- Collection materials archive that include testimonies on Rwanda history given by elders in the community, photographs from the museum’s holdings and historical audio and video.
Collection Displays at the Museum
The public collection is displayed in seven rooms with the remaining artifacts in storage.
- Room I
Has a ticket counter and gift shop where handicraft items and booklets are sold. It’s also usually used for temporary displays. Exhibits are formed basing on topics that can awaken awareness in a particular circumstance or a given event.
- Room II
Has maps, photos and graphics that offer geographical and linguistic knowledge concerning Rwanda.
Exhibit items used in several economic activities for example agriculture, cattle-breeding, bee-keeping, hunting and, fishing, basketry, pottery and wood curving.
- Room V
Portrays several kinds of Rwandan architecture, ancient ways of living and also social organisation.
- Room VI
Portrays traditional clothing, adornment together with recreation.
- Room VII
Unveils pre-historic knowledge and presents the chronology of the Kings, the Bami based on written and oral history and also displays about science of the extraction, working and properties of metals and their alloys, traditional religious practices, marriage and music.
Source National Museum of Rwanda – Butare