Ethnographic Museum in Rwanda

Ethnographic Museum in Rwanda is located in Butare town in the district of Huye, north of Kigali City and is about 1 km from Kigali City Centre. Ethnography is the study of people, ethnic groups and their cultures.

Ethnographic Museums, therefore, aim at conserving the culture and history of ethnic groups by way of displaying cultural and historical regalia and items.

The Ethnographic Museum in Rwanda was previously known as the National Museum of Rwanda. It was constructed with the help of the Belgian Government and was first opened in 1989 to celebrate 25 years of independence.

The Ethnographic Museum in Rwanda is a great source of information on the cultural history of Rwanda and the East African Region in general. It is the site where Queen Dowager Rosalie Gicanda, wife to King Mutara III of Rwanda, was murdered along with several others during the Rwanda Genocide

The Ethnographic Museum in Rwanda has one of the best ethnological and archaeological collections in the East African Region. Its building is also one of the most beautiful structures that Kigali City has to offer.

The Ethnographic Museum in Rwanda has seven exhibition halls which contain interesting cultural and historical items. The first exhibition hall has the museum shop and guests can stop by and buy a few souvenirs to take home to your loved ones. The second exhibition hall contains geological displays including a relief map showing detailed information on the landscape of Rwanda. The third and fourth exhibition halls display items used in hunting, agricultural, pottery and woodwork.

This Museum in Rwanda has the ‘Kagondo’ hut which forms the centerpiece of an exhibit of houses and courtyards that existed during pre-colonial times. The other three exhibition halls feature traditional clothing like the isinde’ which is a straw plaited raincoat, goat- skin capes and pounded bark garments; as well as a hall exhibiting items and documentation on Rwandan history. The museum also has a hall to host temporary exhibitions.

The Ethnographic Museum in Rwanda is a great educative center for information on Rwanda prehistory has it has an interesting section totally devoted to telling visitors stories on Rwandan divination.

This Museum in Rwanda works in collaboration with legal authorities in order to enforce laws that forbid the illegal export of cultural heritage and historical items and artifacts.

The Ethnographic Museum in Rwanda is an ideal and educative place for students and researchers from different national and international institutions, who are carrying out research in various domains at both levels of the museum and in the surrounding communities.

Ethnographic Museum in Rwanda
Ethnographic Museum in Rwanda

This Museum in Rwanda also acts as a meeting place for scientists, artists, and students as well as being a good information and documentation center, given the fact that it has a lot of information on the country’s historic, religious and cultural background.

The Ethnographic Museum makes a good venue for cultural entertainment and visitors can always pay to watch performances by the local cultural dance group called the ‘Intore dance and drummers group’.

For accommodation while visiting the site, tourists have the following options; Hotel Ibis, Motel du Mont Huye, Nyanza Heritage Hotel and so many more that are within Butare town and Kigali City.

Getting to the Ethnographic Museum

This Museum can be accessed by road from Kigali City which is about 1 hour and 30 minutes’ drive. However, the most convenient and fastest means to the museum would be by ‘Boda’ or rather as you refer to it as a motorcycle. 

The Ethnographic Museum in Rwanda is a very informative and educative center in Rwanda and tells of the country’s cultural, historical and religious background. It is a MUST visit site for any visitor on a Kigali City Tour.

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