Digitizing the Collections of the National Museums of Kenya

Explore the digitization process through quotes from the team behind it...

By National Museums of Kenya

Behind the scenes, digitizing the Joy Adamson collection (2018)National Museums of Kenya

“Karibu, welcome to The National Museums of Kenya. We collect, preserve, study, document and present Kenya’s past and present cultural and natural heritage. On May 17th 2018 we began digitising objects telling the stories of the more than 44 communities of Kenya. Dating back centuries, the stories and traditions of the people of Kenya are some of the most fascinating in the world. They have enriched the country through social, economic, political and cultural activities, each with their own unique stories.“
Director General, Dr. Mzalendo Kibunjia

Behind the scenes, digitizing the Joy Adamson collection (2018)National Museums of Kenya

"A team of more than 20 people were involved in the digitization project, which took a year to complete. Over 10,000 objects from The Cultural Heritage Department were photographed, along with 500 paintings from The National Museums Archives. Street Views were captured of 14 sites, among others, Karen Blixen’s House, Uhuru Gardens and the Nairobi National Museum."
Director General, Dr. Mzalendo Kibunjia

Behind the scenes, archive (2018)National Museums of Kenya

"Our collections have never been digitized, and the majority of objects have not been seen by anyone before. It's exciting to know that everyone around the world now has access to our collections and can explore them online. I hope it will encourage new research, conversations, and visits to Kenya. It's a pretty extraordinary place."
Curator/Research Scientist, Philemon Nyamanga

Behind the scenes, curator Audia Atogo showing Nyatiti musical instrument (2018)National Museums of Kenya

"The Cultural Heritage Department holds a collection of over 60,000 objects, with the earliest dating to 1880 and the most recent 2018. Objects include weapons, shields, textiles, clothing, kangas, instruments, gourds, pots, furniture, dolls, masks, baskets, jewelery, fishing traps, textiles, combs, tools, ritual and medicine objects.“
Curator/Research Scientist, Audia Atogo

"This incredible Nyatiti from the Luo community in Western Kenya has an incredible sound. Similar instruments are still used today, often to play the popular Benga music. It has eight-strings and is made of leather and wood.“
Curator/Research Scientist, Audia Atogo

Behind the scenes, digitizing the Joy Adamson collection (2018)National Museums of Kenya

"The National Museums Archive section includes a collection of more than 4 Million items, telling the stories of Kenya. There are photographs of rock art, Mau Mau, and recordings of birdsong. For this project we digitized 300 paintings by artist Joy Adamson, 21 paintings by artist Leonard Kateete, and over 100 paintings by contemporary Kenyan artists."
Curator/Archivist, Immelda Kithuka

Behind the scenes, object cards being checked (2018)National Museums of Kenya

"For six months a specialized digitization team worked hard to document the objects, in close collaboration with the curators. The team would:
1) Find the object in the Storage department
2) Find the object card containing the object's unique details, including object number and location
3) Take the object to the photography studio
4) Hand over the object card to the metadata team
5) Finally, return the object and object card to it's original location."
Collections Manager, Ray Balongo

Behind the scenes, metadata being updated (2018)National Museums of Kenya

"The movement of every single object was tracked and recorded by the team."

Collections Manager, Ray Balongo

Behind the scenes, lyre being photographed (2018)National Museums of Kenya

"A temporary photography studio was set up and around 100 objects were photographed each day, depending on the objects' condition."

Collections Manager, Ray Balongo

Behind the scenes, digitizing the Joy Adamson collection (2018)National Museums of Kenya

"The Joy Adamson collection includes illustrated portraits of 42 Kenyan communities, 40 for fish and over 300 for botanic collection.

These collections contain a wide variety of national and cultural information in the country. Digitizing them will enhance their access worldwide."

Curator/Archivist, Immelda Kithuka

Behind the scenes, digitizing the Joy Adamson collection (2018)National Museums of Kenya

"Over 30 communities were recorded for this project, among them, the Agikuyu, Luo, Maasai and Akamba. There are many more communities in Kenya, and the National Museums of Kenya is committed to representing and celebrating them all within its collections."

Curator/Research scientist, Mercy Gakii

Team photo (2018) by GibsphotographyNational Museums of Kenya

“We invite you to explore the collections of the National Museums of Kenya on Google Arts & Culture, and look forward to welcoming you in Kenya soon.“

Director General, Dr. Mzalendo Kibunjia

Dr. (Amb.) Amina C. Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and HeritageNational Museums of Kenya

“The government's collaboration with Google has democratized access to Kenya’s rich cultural heritage and enabled more people to discover our culture and human connections in new, exciting and interactive ways. It has also encouraged real-life visits to the country's museums, monuments and heritage sites”.
Dr. (Amb.) Amina C. Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and Heritage

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