The extraordinary museums of Lagos

Lagos packs a punch with regards to tradition, due to Nollywood, a vibrant music and vogue scene – and a lineup of museums that vary from staid to thrilling.

On this metropolis of roughly 20 million, museumgoers can go to colonial-era establishments now managed by the federal government to up to date artwork galleries funded by personal people. 

Many are straightforward to succeed in, whereas some will convey you to distant corners of the state. And maybe probably the most thrilling museum in Lagos but – the John Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture and History – will open within the close to future.

Within the meantime, amongst these already welcoming guests, listed here are the very best museums in Lagos.

Take into account Nigeria’s extraordinary tradition on the Nationwide Museum

The Nationwide Museum was established in 1957 to accommodate objects collected from archaeological digs carried out throughout the areas that now make up  Nigeria. As guests stroll via the museum’s breezy courtyard, they’ll soak up uncommon carved stone objects and monoliths, a part of Nigeria’s wealthy historic rock-art heritage. 

Such treasures as Ife and Nok terracottas and Benin Bronzes showcase the nation’s beautiful indigenous craftsmanship way back to 900 BCE. Rotating exhibitions – resembling Unfading Property of Our Cultural Patrimony – additionally spotlight objects from the everlasting assortment. The curators listed here are all the time newly contextualizing such works conventional stools and staffs, fly whisks, drums and an assortment of assorted royal ensembles as they rejoice Nigeria’s various cultural heritage.

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Very good structure meets up to date artwork on the Yemisi Shyllon Museum

Artwork lovers can see the work of Bruce Onobrakpeya and different up to date Nigerian masters on the Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Artwork © PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP by way of Getty Photographs

The Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art is likely one of the most beautiful works of structure in Lagos. Located on the quiet campus of Pan-Atlantic College and opened to the general public in 2020, this museum facilities round a donation of some 1000 artworks by one in every of Nigeria’s foremost artwork collectors.

You possibly can rely on seeing an array of labor by a few of Nigeria’s most celebrated trendy artists, together with Aina Onabolu, Bruce Onabrakpeya, Ben Enwonwu, Yusuf Grillo, Ladi Kwali and Erhabor Emokpae. The shows are rounded out with vivid works by up to date abilities, in addition to historic archaeological objects and intricately carved, conventional picket items. If you’re performed within the galleries inside, linger some time within the equally soothing sculpture park. 

Ponder the legacy of slavery at Badagry Heritage Museum

Guests to Badagry sit up for stopping in at its Heritage Museum, the centerpiece of a community of establishments and websites memorializing the transatlantic slave commerce. Housed in a prefabricated one-story colonial-era constructing put up in 1863 as a District Officer’s station, this spacious compound features a crafts store, restaurant and a 30-foot monument. 

Combining pictures, maps, illustrations and precise relics, the museum particulars the evolution of slavery, from gut-wrenching seize, resistance and punishment to its long-awaited abolition. Standing on the lagoon-facing balcony in the back of the constructing, guests can see the port (relationship way back to 1510) within the distance and fringes of Gberefu Island, from which tens of millions of enslaved individuals had been marched to – then shipped out from – the purpose of no return.    

It’s all the time “Highlife Time” on the Kalakuta Republic Museum

The Kalakuta Republic Museum is the go-to pilgrimage spot for followers of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and the Afrobeat type of music he pioneered. At this three-story home-turned-homage to the grasp, the whole first ground is dedicated to telling the Fela story, beginning together with his dwelling quarters – left unchanged since when he died in August 1997 at age 58. 

Marvel at his colourful, embroidered shirts, saxophone, award plaques, king-size mattress and waist-high fridge. Subsequent door, you’ll see at the least 30 pairs of his made-to-order footwear, whereas one other room presents his short-lived foray into politics, full with photocopied pages of press protection of his bitter, and infrequently bloody, battles with the navy junta of the Seventies and ’80s. Different rooms are plastered with images of a few of his worldwide efficiency excursions. True devotees can end their go to by paying their respects at Fela’s marble tomb, positioned on the bottom ground.

Rejoice progress at Freedom Park Museum

This museum is a part of the bigger Freedom Park facility on Broad Road, which has its roots within the state’s colonial previous. Based as a jail in 1872, the compound was closed then demolished after Nigeria’s independence in 1960. 

Occupying the higher part of what was once the jail’s registry, the museum preserves the reminiscence of the previous jail. Guests can see a reproduction of a typical cell (with bedding, a pail and Bible), carceral objects (together with shackles and window bars) dug up in the course of the foundation-laying stage, a reconstruction of the gallows, and a wall plastered with an extended record of the on a regular basis individuals and political activists who served time on the jail. A group of images exhibits the jail’s authentic buildings and a number of other phases of the redevelopment work carried out within the late 2000s.

Get pleasure from juxtapositions of Black artwork and objects from all over the world at CBAAC Museum

Between January and February 1977, Lagos hosted the second World Black and African Pageant of Arts and Tradition (FESTAC), drawing a whole bunch of hundreds of individuals from at the least 60 international locations. The spectacle included regatta shows, live shows, colloquiums and an exhibition of objects from the taking part international locations.  

The objects from that exhibition make up the gathering of the Center for Black African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC) on Broad Road. This cross-cultural shows Australian Aboriginal artwork, a soapstone from Zimbabwe, twin collectible figurines from Cuba, fertility dolls from Ghana, ancestral objects from Ivory Coast and decorative utensils, amongst many different items.  

Because it’s run by a authorities company, it’s solely open on weekdays, and guests are required to request excursions by electronic mail ( upfront.

On a regular basis objects inform the story on the CRIMMD museum

The place in Lagos would you discover a Nigerian coin that was minted in 1910, an 1884 stamp and a 1922 gramophone? The museum of the Center for Research, Information Management and Media Development (CRIMMD) has preserved all these and extra, together with a gun used in the course of the 1897 British navy assault on the dominion of Benin. 

Over the previous 20 years, the museum has preoccupied itself with gathering and preserving varied facets of Nigeria’s materials tradition. These objects in flip assist guests see and really feel (generally actually) how the nation has developed from a colony into an unbiased nation. Additionally in its assortment are such on a regular basis objects as turntables, LPs, wick lanterns, royal staffs and varied family utensils. In extra of 20,000 pictures, its photographic hoard is equally spectacular.

Step again right into a groovier time at Classic Africana

A woman examines framed photos at the Vintage Africana museum
Step again in time in Classic Africana © Classic Africana

Think about the lounge of a middle-class Nigerian household in Seventies and ’80, adorned with a black-and-white double-door tv, table-top dial cellphone, grandfather clock, short-wave radio and cassette participant, vinyl turntable, VHS participant and floral wallpaper, amongst different furnishings.

Vintage Africana affords a veritable journey again in time. A Lagosian couple opened this intriguing area not too long ago within the Oko-Oba–Agege space, motivated, they are saying, to protect acquainted objects from their very own childhood so that youngsters rising up now can be taught that there haven’t all the time been smartphones, cable tv and digital cameras. 

A classic Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz 190 – the trendiest autos of their day – are each parked within the compound, a brief distance from a phone sales space. A recent message sneaks into the primary inside area guests stroll via: the “inexperienced room,” a silent marketing campaign for recycling and upcycling. An adjoining restaurant serves Nigerian soul meals: whereas ready to be served, you may play card video games, and flip via an previous e book of Yoruba proverbs or a collection of Shakespeare’s dramas.

Trash will get remodeled into treasure on the Junkyard Museum of Awkward Issues 

What society throws away, the Junkman of Africa (also referred to as Dilomprizulike) takes up. He reduce his enamel interning within the Seventies with world-famous artist El Anatsui, and has labored with discovered objects ever since in a profession that’s spanned 5 many years. 

Through the years, he has amassed an enormous assortment of gorgeous detritus, exhibited at residence and overseas – and now at his museum, nestled in a leafy nook of Lekki, one in every of Lagos’ loveliest neighborhoods. Nonetheless very a lot a piece in progress, the museum is being ready as a artistic area for artists worldwide, at which Junkman plans to run workshops whereas additionally internet hosting worldwide change packages and community-centered initiatives for younger and aspiring artists.