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5 Reasons Why You Should Visit the Rwanda Ethnographic Museum in Huye

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The richness of a country’s history and heritage is a very important aspect that creates an identity for the people of any nation in the world. Rwanda has a rich history that dates back to the Kingdoms, colonial and post-colonial times, which has not been explored to attract local tourism, bring in revenue, and create awareness of the culture of the Rwandan people.

Unlike in some countries where historical sites and heritage have been central aspects of cultural tourism, Rwanda has not had the privilege to do so, not because Rwandans don’t want to, but because they haven’t been exposed to them, which has created low awareness.

One of the things that has great treasure and historical richness is the Rwanda Ethnographic Museum located in the former Butare, known as Huye district today.

This museum is considered a gift from Belgium’s King Baudouin in the late 1980s and was later inaugurated on September 18th, 1989. It was called the National Museum of Rwanda because it was the only museum in the country until 2007.

This museum houses perhaps the finest ethnographic and archaeological collections in East Africa, with more than 10,000 artifacts divided into 7 galleries displaying historical, ethnographic, artistic, and archaeological artifacts with accompanying visual aids, providing visitors with a comprehensive understanding of Rwandan culture.

Reasons Why You Should Visit the Ethnographic Museum in Huye District:

1. Satisfy your curiosity about Rwandans’ traditional lifestyle

When you enter Huye Museum, you first encounter geographical and geological displays before discovering the objects used in various sectors of activity such as agriculture, livestock, beekeeping, hunting (including an amazing leopard trap), fishing, basketry, pottery, weaving, and woodworking.

It also showcases traditional clothing and ornaments, as well as the famous traditional Intore dancers. Additionally, it displays different ancient ways of life and social organization, which paint the very image of the traditional Rwandans’ lifestyle.

2. Acquire knowledge about the country’s history and heritage

The museum holds the most attractive cultural heritage that every Rwandan is supposed to have some knowledge of. For example, there is a chronology of Kings (Abami) according to how they assumed the thrones from prehistory up to the last King, Kigeli V Ndahindurwa. The museum also has photographs of all the presidents since independence displayed on a wall. It also covers metallurgy, traditional religious practices, marriage, music, and more.

3. Marvel at the amazing building that houses the Ethnographic Museum

The building that houses the museum is the work of Belgian architect and ethnologist Lode Van Pee and is worth a visit itself. The roof, for instance, is designed to reflect the polyrhythm of the drums. The traditional motifs embedded in the masonry are reminiscent of shields, pots, and baskets. Inside, there are well-preserved traditional houses (huts) that show how ancient houses used to be.

4. The cost of visiting is very low

Some residents prefer not to visit the museum thinking that the entry fee is high. However, the charges for visiting the Ethnographic Museum are Rwf 1000 for one Rwandan student (Rwf 500 for a group of at least 20 students) and Rwf 2000 for adults.

5. You need to visit the museum to relax

Apart from satisfying your curiosity, this is a place that can help you refresh your mind, especially for those who have been working for a long time. Huye Museum has interesting facts and tools, particularly of the old type, and you can also enjoy fresh air from the surrounding garden, which can also host a wedding.

Visiting the museum doesn’t just benefit an individual, but the community as well, as when you learn about Rwandan culture, you can spread that knowledge throughout your community. This creates curiosity for everyone to know Rwanda’s beautiful culture and heritage.

Inside of Rwanda Ethnographic Museum in Huye, photo by Internet


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