I’m going to start of by saying The National Museum can do so much more. I went there with very high expectations, most of which were dashed.
Located in Onikan, Lagos, the National Museum has collections which cut across archaeology, tradition, arts & crafts etc. While I won’t take away that some of the things shown there are impressive such as the Nok Terracotta and the Benin Brasses, I believe that more can be done to show the rich cultural heritage and history of the country.
The museum is divided into different sections. Each room tells its on tale. Some rooms have the traditional masquerades on display, some had wares that were used in the past and samples of the Ikom Monoliths were also on site. Traditional rulers are also represented and their customs and traditions.
The highlight for me was seeing the car that Gen Murtala Mohammed was killed in. The museum kept the car and you can see the bullet holes, the blood, EVERYTHING! I was really excited about it. Unfortunately, the man who was meant to be our guide couldn’t tell us much about it after my friend asked repeatedly about the coup. It’s unfortunate that there was no one to tell the full tale tale behind this and the other things on display in the museum while we were there.
While I know that in other countries, you are free to roam around the museums on your own, there are dedicated guides on stand by or pamphlets that help to guide you through various sections.
I went there hoping to feel like I had taken a step back in history and to also appreciate our history and culture.
Unfortunately, while there were bits and pieces here and there, I felt that the museum could do more in terms of curating artifacts that truly represent the country.
The government should definitely do more in making sure the museum is up to standard and also renovate the building as it doesn’t represent what the country’s National Museum should look like.
The museum restaurant should also be re done so as to encourage visitors to grab a bite to eat after walking round the complex.
All in all, it was a somewhat enlightening experience. Like the teaser before the main meal and I hope by the next time I visit, there would be a lot of improvement.
Cost of entry – N200 ($1, 60p, 89)
Parking is available
Pictures are not allowed to prevent imitation (hence the slightly terrible pictures)
We were told if you want a proper guide, you need to call ahead so they prepare for you.