National Museum, Lagos

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The National Museum, Lagos established in 1956 is an outlet for collecting, preserving and presenting a cultural history of Nigeria.

It was founded in the 1950s, after a period of colonial rule that saw the country hemorraghing traditional works of art. Before the museum's opening, the government purchased some art works taken from Nigeria and sold abroad including some sold at Sotheby's to showcase at the new Musuem The Museum today is a relatively vibrant branch of the National Commission of Museums and Monuments. In 2002, construction of a shopping complex called 'Galleria' and located close to the Museum began, it is the intention of the city of Lagos to view the mall later called City Mall as a way to rejuvenate the Onikan environ.

The museum during its course of history had to battle with lack of funds to procure more art works and also for exhibits, arguably this may be a result of the government's disinterest in promoting Nigeria's cultural history. (1) During the early years, the history of the museum in Africa was less rooted in African culture leading to a large number of expatriate and school children as visitors with scarce visits by the general populace, also the anti-Islam and anti-Christian objects in the museum did not really sell the museum's aesthetic contents.

The Museum has various collections of pots, bronze and terracotta statutes from Benin, Igbo Ukwu, the Central regions of Nigeria and from Ife, the major centers of classical Nigerian art. It also has a large collection of 'Ere Ibeji'.

Some contemporary exhibitions

  • Ben Enwonwu. 1991
  • Gabriel Awusa. 1993.
  • Urhobo Art. 2005

External links


  • (1)PATRICK SMITH. A country for travellers / Tourism, The Guardian (London), September 27, 1985.