Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia, has an interesting history and culture and there are plenty of sights to see to help make the most of both. The best place to start is the Lusaka National Museum, which gives insight into the storied history and rich culture of this vibrant African nation. Through chronicling events in Zambia's development, the National Museum brings you closer to the country that surrounds you.
Take a step back in time
Lusaka National Museum, Zambia's premier institute for national art and culture, displays artwork and artifacts under four main categories: history, contemporary art, witchcraft, and ethnography. The construction of this big square box of a building began in the 1980s, however the Lusaka National Museum officially opened to the public in October 1996. While the museum was originally intended to highlight the history of Zambian independence, its focus changed to cultural history by the time it opened.
Through modern art, learn about the story of contemporary Zambia in Lusaka National Museum's lower gallery. Folk art, paintings, and sculpture all help illuminate this fascinating culture to foreign and domestic visitors alike. The upper gallery of the National Museum charts Zambia's development from ancient history to colonialism and the postcolonial era. It displays exhibits on urban culture and Zambian history as well as cultural, ethnographic, and archaeological artifacts. Don't miss out the skull of Kabwe man, a replica, since the original is kept in the British Museum. The skull has been dated between 300,000 and 125,000 years old, and was discovered on Broken Hill, not far from Lusaka. Ask for a tour guide to take you around and walk you through Zambia's captivating history.
A museum raising awareness
Besides art collections, the National Museum has also a dedicated education program, which focuses on raising awareness of Zambia's cultures and issues over the course of its history. At the entrance you'll be greeted by the imposing 8 meter tall statue of Anti-Retroviral Man. The ARM statue is made from old hospice beds on which thousands of people have died of AIDS. It is modeled after Winstone Zulu, Zambia's late AIDs activist. Running in tandem with education, the museum has a dedicated children's area for youth learning.
Centrally located, the Lusaka National Museum is perfect for a short cultural stop while sightseeing the city center. Downstairs, the museum shop features lots of goods at very cheap prices. Enjoy a cup of coffee at the local cafeteria, before heading to Lusaka's market, the heart of the city.