ethiopian national museum
Post on 22-Mar-2016
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DESCRIPTIONAmran Ethiopia Tour and Travel
Your move after reaching the Bole International Airport could possibly be the National
Museum of Ethiopia. Driving from Bole and passing by Stadium, then taking the wide
boulevard you will reach the circle of Aratkilo. Taking King George Street, next to the
Aratkilo circle in the Northern direction is the Natural Science Campus. A few meters
away in that same direction to the left of the street in Amistkilo district is Saint Marys
Church and near the church is the National Museum of Ethiopia.
Background of the Museum
The first museum in Ethiopia was opened in 1936 being part of the national library. A
few presents from the royal family were set to the exhibition. The establishment of the
Institute of Archaeology in 1946 has contributed a lot for the development of the
museum. French archaeologists had a great role in the finding of very important
historical and cultural artifacts. The museum was transferred to the lounge of todays
National Bank of Ethiopia. A step at a time the museum finally was located in where it is
The archaeology museum that was established in 1946 had started its work by exhibiting
some archaeological findings from the Northern part of the country. Following these
events in 1958 the idea of establishing a national museum had been given a serious
attention by the government. Therefore, the national museum started its work in public
that same year.
The museum houses the nations artistic treasures as well as many of the most precious
archaeological findings such as the fossilized remain of early hominids, the most famous
of which is Lucy.
The Compound of the Museum
The compound of the museum is spacious. Many sculpts that give grace to the setting are erected here and
there. On the gates check point are few uniformed federal police to check you through. A few meters away
to the right side of the museum under the veranda of one of the old buildings is one of the first automobiles
which entered Ethiopia during the reign of Emperor Menelik. This vehicle is of a very attractive and
interesting model. For those who have never had any encounter with such pleasing things of the past this
will be the best break.
Well you must understand you could not get such automobile for
any great amount of dollars you would be happy to pay unless of
course if not in millions.
Right in front of the gate of the museums hall is the cannon used by Emperor Menelik at the battle of Adwa in 1896. The cannon witness that tragic war against the Fascist Italian. Even for anyone without the knowledge of the Battle of Adwa the cannon can give the dj vu of having been to the battle fields.
Carvings and monuments
In the museum are so many carvings of wood,
stone, bronze, copper, cement and sand and
many others materials. Numerous sand and
cement monuments and carvings feed your eyes a
beauty of living arts. Getting closer to them and
looking in to their magnificence is all you need to
There are many more inside the museum but the
dark rooms were not able to provide enough light
for our cameras and we were not able to use
flashlight for it is forbidden.
Cafes and restaurants
Ardi caf and restaurant named after the recently found
bone in Afar region by archaeologists and Lucy caf and
restaurant named after Lucy or Dinkinesh are the two main
places that you can have your meal when you start to feel a
little hungry while you are inside the compound.
g the Museum
Currently, the National Museum of Ethiopia has four main exhibition sections. The basement is
dedicated to archaeological and paleo anthropological sections. This area shows the previously
mentioned hominids. The first floor contains objects from ancient and medieval periods, as well as
ceremonial objects and souvenirs from former rulers, including Emperor Haile Selassie. The second
floor shows art work in a chronological order, from traditional to contemporary works. These
include murals, Afework Teklie and other Ethiopian artists. Finally, the third floor has an
ethnographic display. Here, the museum gives an overview of the cultural richness and variety of
the peoples of Ethiopia.
Palaeo anthropology and pre-history artifacts collection room The Thron
e of Haile Selassie I (19
This throne is much closer to the word residence that throne because of
its gigantic structure. The throne is made of Cordia African Wanza (species
of wood) and Ivory. It was presented to the Emperor by the Indian
Community in Harar in 1985 and was looted by the Italian Fascist troops
during the WWII returned in 1972. Standing by this throne you will
certainly start wondering how it would feel to sit on it and feel the power
of being an Emperor.
Bones that bounce your mind back to your own forefathers
In the National Museum of Ethiopia, the paleontological collections are
strongly gifted of taking your imagination and thought back to millions of
years ago. These collections give you the means to understand what had
happened in earth some million years ago and what is going on today; what
is going to happen tomorrow and how serious the climate change of your
planet is getting.
The museum houses the nation's artistic treasures as well as many of the
most precious archaeological findings such as the fossilized remains of early
hominids, the most famous of which is "Lucy," the partial skeleton of a
specimen of Australopithecus afarensis. Recently added to the basement
gallery is a display on Selam, found between 2000 and 2004. Estimated to be
3.3 million years old, this afarensis specimen is considered to be the earliest
To the right corner of the pale anthropological collections exhibition rooms
awaits you the warm greeting of Lucy. She says to you, Hi I am Lucy and
then invites you to get to know with her world-famous ancestors.
This skeleton is the most complete human ancestor yet discovered in 1974
by Donald C. Johnson. This adult female skeleton was nicknamed Lucy after
the popular Beatles song Lucy in the sky with diamond But the Ethiopians
prefer to call her, Dinkinesh to mean wonderful. She is 3.2 million years
old. Her brain was no longer than chimpanzees but she walked on two legs
a character placing her in the family tree of man. She was of a small stature
standing 3.5 feet tall. Her scientific name is Australopithecus Afarensis.
Unfortunately, the "real" Lucy can't be seen in Addis Ababa. Because of the
rare and fragile nature of fossils, including Lucy's skeleton, molds are usually
made of the originals, which are then used to create detailed copies (casts).
These detailed copies are then used for teaching, research, and exhibits in
institutions around the world. This is what has been done with Lucy.
The "real" Lucy is stored in a specially constructed safe in the
Paleoanthropologist Laboratories of the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis
Ababa. On display in the museum is one of the casts of the original skeleton.
Visitors to the Ethiopian National Museum in Addis Ababa can see a replica
skeleton laid out by itself in pieces, showing the 40 percent that was
Also on display is a fascinating reconstructed full skeleton of Lucy that shows
her height and stance. When she was alive, Lucy would have been about 3-
1/2 feet tall and weighed about 60 to 65 pounds.
This model of Selam is created by an artist based on her skeleton. Selam in
many Ethiopian languages means peace. She represents the earliest and most
complete skeleton of a child human ancestor ever discussed in the history of
palaeoanthropology. She was about 3 years old when she died and belongs to
the ancient species of Australopithecus Afarnesis. Her archaeological age is
3.3 million years. And she was found in Dikika, Ethiopia. The discovery has
taken a time interval from 2000-to-2004.
Traditional and contemporary Ethiopian art.
This amazing painting is placed on the 3rd exhibition room. World Laureate
Meter Artist AfeworkTekle is the painter of this great painting. For men of
artistic interest it will fix them on the very ground they stand for many
moments as it is complex in idea and attractive in appearance. It was
painted in 1969 with oil on canvas.
The Battle of Adwa
This one also is painted on canvas in the year 2003. Though young in age it
is quite powerful to retell and reflect the old. A black man (Emperor
Menelik?) sitting on the back of a galloping horse again will give the dj
vu of being in the battlegrounds of Adwa.
The Skull, a painting by the same person, is quite amazing and terrifying
for the dark eye sockets stare at you wherever you stand. They follow you
and look in to your eyes with their dark and cold beauty. Such
magnificence, we dare to pronounce, has never been depicted deep in the
heart of death with such a mind-boggling art.
The Great Painting of Saint Mercury