Gorilla Expeditions has designed this great Information about Rwanda Museums that can be visited on 2 Days Gorilla Tour Rwanda Combined with a City Tour before heading to volcanoes National Park.
This outstanding museum was given to the city as a gift from Belgium in 1989 to commemorate 25 years of independence. While the building itself is certainly one of the most beautiful structures in the city, the museum wins top marks for having one of the best ethnological and archaeological collections in the entire region. The seven exhibition halls contain some very interesting items and everything is unusually well lit and presented.
The first hall contains the museum shop. The second hall has geological displays including a large relief map that depicts the topography of Rwanda as something akin to a crumpled piece of paper. The middle halls exhibit items used in agriculture, hunting, animal husbandry, weaving, pottery and woodwork. The kagondo hut forms the centerpiece of an exhibit on housing and living compounds in pre-colonial times. The final halls feature traditional clothing including an isinde (wicker raincoat), pounded bark garments and goat-skin capes and information on Rwandan pre-history, including an interesting section on divination. There is also a side-hall used to house temporary exhibitions.
The museum is also the venue where the Intore dancers and drummers perform. Ask at reception about arranging a performance. The museum is about 1km north of the center, past the minibus stand. You can either walk or jump on a boda-boda (motorcycle taxi).
Built in the early 1990s, the National Museum of Rwanda is a good source of information on the cultural history of the country and the region and it is over and over again referred to as the best museum in East Africa. During the 1994 genocide, The National Museum located in Butare remained safe and sound. It was donated in 1990s by the Belgium government with some ethnic collection, the design and concept all realized in co-operation with the Royal Museum for Central Africa of Tervuren, Belgium.
Butare lies 135 km from Kigali and a visit can be organized as a day pleasure trip out of Kigali. A visit Butare is also possible on the way to Nyungwe National Park. Nyabisindu (Nyanza) is situated 45 km from Butare and 90 km from Kigali.
Butare museum the diverse sections of the museum demonstrate a wide-ranging assemblage of indistinguishable pictures, traditional artifacts and objects, tools and different craft products. Ethnographic objects are clustered together according to the theme giving quality information on the daily life. Traditional ceramics and basketry are still manufactured and belong to the finest handicrafts of the region.
The Museum is the fine and reflects well the time spirit at the end of 19th Century when the East-African Kingdoms came in contact with the first Europeans. The wealthy insights about Rwanda’s traditional life and culture and the successive historical developments contribute to a better understanding of African history and should be compelled for everybody who’s interested in Africa.
Butare/ Huye was the largest and most significant city in Rwanda prior to 1965, when it lost out to the more centrally located Kigali, 135km to its north, as the capital of independent Rwanda. Today, Butare is hub of several academic institutions, including the country’s largest Butare University. Butare is still regarded to be the intellectual and cultural icon of Rwanda. It is also an appealingly compact and serene town of shaded avenues emanating from a main street lined with comfortable small hotels and blowy terrace restaurants.
Butare National Museum is the most prominent tourist attraction in Butare and houses conceivably the finest ethnographic collected works in East Africa. Absorbing displays of traditional artifacts light up by eye-catching assortment of turn-of-the-century monochrome photographs, providing insight not only into pre-colonial lifestyles, but also into the successive development of Rwanda as a contemporary African state.
Butare’s cultural significance is further underlined by a visit to nearby Nyabisindu, formerly known as Nyanza, the traditional seat of Rwanda’s feudal kingdom. The impressive Royal Palace at Nyanza, a colossal domed construction made completely with traditional materials, has been thoroughly restored to its 19th century state and is now safeguarded as a museum
State house museum/ Presidential palace museum
This former presidential palace on the eastern outskirts of the city is slowly being restored. It has few exhibits, but it’s interesting to explore, with ‘secret’ rooms and an odd presidential nightclub. Wreckage from Juvenal Habyarimana’s presidential plane can still be seen where it was shot down just over his garden wall. The perpetrators were never caught, but this act proved to be a rallying call for Hutu extremists and helped trigger the genocide. The museum is a short way east of the airport Kigali about 2 km from Kigali International Airport. To get here, catch a Kanombe-bound minibus to the military hospital, from where it’s a short walk.
The Palace served as home to Juvenal Habyarimana and Pasteur Bizimungu during the 1970s up to the late 1990s. The Presidential Palace Museum is one of the new museums in Kigali. It gives visitors a chance to visit the former state house as well as gain an overview of Rwanda’s history; one can also visit some of the flight debris of the FALCON 50 presidential plane that went down on 6th April 1994.
King’s palace museum-Rukuri/ National art gallery-Rwesero
Based in Nyanza, 88 km south of Kigali City, this was the residence of King Mutara III Rudahigwa and the Royal Palace that was traditionally built. This Palace offers a detailed look into Rwandan traditional seat of their monarchy, it is an impressive museum, restored to its 19th century state and made entirely with traditional materials. Recently the Long horned Traditional cows, known in Kinyarwanda as “Inyambo” were also introduced because of the fact that cows form an integral part of Rwandan Culture. On the neighboring hill of Mwima, one can also visit the burial grounds of King Mutara III and his wife Queen Rosalie Gicanda.
In 2006, the palace that had been built for King Mutara III Rudahingwa in 1957, and had seen numerous incarnations since, was converted into the National Art Gallery of Rwanda. Bringing international contemporary art to the country and promoting current artists living and working in Rwanda, the museum is a unique institution in the country.
Walking into the National Art Gallery in Nyanza for the Second International Art Exhibition, the first thing that draws the viewer’s attention is a line of busts, some tall, some short, and all made of wood and clay. These heads, each long face somewhat resembling the next, are sculptures of the last three kings of Rwanda, Yuhi V Musinga, and his two sons, Mutara III Rudahingwa and his brother Kigeli V. They were displayed alongside an array of sketches and case studies showing the process that their creators went through while making them. Three papier-mâché masks hanging on the wall stood out, as did small maquette heads made of red clay showing the evolution from sketch to sculpture. The faces, true to the photographs that inspired them, were characterized by long protruding teeth and mournful expressions.
These kings don’t sit here by chance. The building of the gallery is located on Rwesero Hill in Nyanza, Southern Province, which historically was the royal capital of Rwanda. From the end of the 19th century up to 1961 the Kings had their palaces on a neighboring hill named Rukari, and the current palace was built for King Mutara III Rudahingwa between 1957 and 1958. Unfortunately the King died unexpectedly in 1959 and never had a chance to live in his beautiful palace. For many years the palace housed different governmental offices, before becoming the National Art Gallery in 2006 under the Institute of National Museums of Rwanda (INMR).
The location of the place is wonderful, perched high on a hill looking out over a view of Rwanda’s famous thousand hills. Architecturally it is also well suited to its current role. Their palatial intention is manifested in spacious rooms now used as exhibition spaces. Large windows flood the rooms with natural light and make viewing the artworks easy and clear.
Museum of Environment
This museum found in Kibuye, it is the only museum in Africa that focuses on the environment. This museum have a Rwandan herbal garden located on the top of the double stall building, and also have a variety of exhibitions, like Energy. Energy produced in Rwanda and in the rest of the world, and the role Energy plays in an ever-changing environment. Museum of Environment is located at Karongi (Rwanda)-Western Province.