Botswana National Museum is the perfect place to take a trip back through time and experience the traditional way of life that the people of Botswana lived for hundreds of years. This year, the museum celebrates its 51st anniversary, providing a glimpse into Botswana’s legacy for 51 years.
Also referred to as the National Museum and Art Gallery, the museum came to be via an act of Parliament in 1967. It officially opened to the public in 1968 and the multi-disciplinary institute became the custodian of Botswana’s cultural and natural heritage. The museum includes, among others, the National Art Gallery, the Octagon Gallery and the National Botanical Gardens.
The art galleries have been host to some of the finest contemporary artists and boasts exhibitions from both local and international artists. The National Botanical Gardens opened in November 2007 as a means to protect Botswana’s plant heritage. The seven hectare park that the Gardens take up is divided into six areas, for each of Botswana’s main regions. Each area contains plants indigenous to that region.
The main campus of the National Museum is in the center of Gaborone, near the Main Mall and opposite the Catholic Cathedral, which is also a must-see. The museum galleries and archives have extensive natural and historical collections and displays that will make you feel as if you lived there too. The National Museum gives insight into the way of life before and during British rule with sections on pre-colonial and colonial history. There are also animal exhibits, crafts and paintings, conventional and unconventional music instruments, homestead displays and a display of the iconic railway station around which Gaborone was built.
Among almost 80 other national monuments around Botswana that the National Museum is responsible for the care of, the museum is also involved in the preservation of Tsodilo which was the country’s first World Heritage Site. The museum is also the caretaker for Tsholofelo Park, the burial site of the Negro of Banyoles. The museum is in charge of a few mobile outreach programs which aim to bring the museum to the public, as well as a weekly radio show that tells stories of the oral traditions of the people of Botswana.
The National Museum and Art Gallery is filled with history of Botswana, perfectly preserving moments in time for us to experience. The National Museum ensures that the culture and heritage of Botswana is showcased to visitors and locals alike, and is maintained for future generations to come.