Kenya to establish its first maritime museum in Mombasa


 

Kenya’s first-ever maritime museum is expected to be operational by the end of the year.

The museum, a joint project of the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) and the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), will showcase the history of maritime activities on the Kenyan coast.

According to KPA, the Maritime Museum, to be located opposite the Kenya Navy landing jetty at the port of Mombasa, in a rehabilitated building that was the original site of the Kenya Cargo Handling Services company more than 100 years ago.

It is expected to help preserve marine artefacts and memorabilia unique to KPA and the sea coast.

The Maritime Museum will specialise in the collection, preservation, and display of articles relating to the maritime history of Kenya and the East African Coast

On display will be old ships, dhows, and other sea vessels unique to the region’s history.

Other items to be displayed will include old boat anchors, flags, compasses, old cranes, and other equipment common in the area. Due to size, consideration will be given to preserve the objects in their artistic impressions or prototypes.

Historical site

The site of the museum is itself historic. The building, according to KPA, was originally used to store ivory. It is believed to have been the first office of Kenya Cargo Handling Services, the predecessor of the Kenya Ports Authority.

‘’The building site is endowed with archaeological, historical, environmental, aesthetic, and economic value. It was built between 1913 and 1955,’’ said a KPA statement.

The museum is expected to attract cruise ship tourists and other seafarers who frequent the port.

It will be advertised as an attraction for historians, researchers, and domestic and international tourists who frequent the Coast.

Gathering of maritime objects through direct purchases, loans from museums, and other institutions locally and overseas is ongoing.

Rehabilitation plan

The project is being supervised and overseen by the National Museums of Kenya under a memorandum of understanding signed with KPA in 2010.

“The role of NMK is consultancy, which includes developing a conservation and rehabilitation plan, design and production of exhibitions, training and support for the project, and overall supervision of all works in collaboration with KPA Engineering,’’ the authority said. 

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