The 10 Iconic Ancient Museums to Visit in Nigeria

Nigeria is a great country that places high values on culture and arts. The nation was under a colonial master before gaining her independence in the year 1960. It will be fun to know that Nigerians have a lot of histories with their colonial masters that should not be forgotten. The ancient cultures and ways of the Nigerians are too important not to be documented. Those documented historical treasures are what the new Nigerians see and are amazed about. This wouldn’t have been possible if some influential colonial administrators hadn’t come up with the concept of establishing museums in Nigeria in the early 1930s.

Today, Nigeria has numerous museums showcasing and educating on historical events. Several beautiful museums have come to light in Nigeria, but it will be more inspiring to know about the ancient museums that led to the birth of the new museums in Nigeria.

The 10 Iconic Ancient Museums to Visit in Nigeria

National Museum Lagos

Ancient Museums to Visit in Nigeria

The Lagos National Museum is located at Onikan Road, Ikoyi, Lagos. An English archaeologist, Kenneth Murray, established this museum in 1957. Nigerians had their way of life before the colonial masters came and before the slave trade started up to the point of its abolition. This museum is a great spot to visit to learn more about the traditional life cycle of Nigerians. One special exhibit in the museum is the ”Cycle Of Life” showcasing a well-crafted Yoruba clay pot used traditionally for the ceremonial burial of umbilical cords; this practice deeply expresses the significance of birth and the connection to ancestral roots.

Benin National Museum

Ancient Museums to Visit in Nigeria

The Benin National Museum is located at Kings Square, Ring Road, Avbiama, Benin City, Edo. This museum came to life in 1973. This building is designed in a special way with a focus on displaying Benin’s rich cultural heritage to the world. Tourists or visitors with the thought of knowing more about the Benin Kingdom must visit this spot. The galleries and exhibitions are uniquely created to enable everyone with zero knowledge about Benin history to gain more knowledge about Benin’s rich culture.

National War Museum Umuahia

Ancient Museums to Visit in Nigeria

The National Museum Umuahia is located at War Museum Rd, Umuahia, Abia. This museum was inaugurated in 1985. The main objective of its creation was to foster National healing and reconciliation by commemorating and contextualizing the Biafran-Nigerian Civil War. A diverse array of artifacts from the aforementioned conflict is showcased in the museum with several collections, including a wide range of historical military equipment, such as armored tanks, vehicles, ships, and aircraft, sourced from both Nigeria and the now-defunct Republic of Biafra.

National Museum Kaduna

Ancient Museums to Visit in Nigeria

The National Museum Kaduna is located at 47 Ali Akilu Road, City Centre, Kaduna. This museum was established in 1975. The architecture of this building is a unique one, built from thatch and mud. The cultural heritage of Northern Nigeria is beautifully portrayed throughout this museum. The building’s architecture and designs are unique, capturing visitors’ hearts with their wonderful views. To gain a deeper understanding of the traditions and lifestyle of the people of northern Nigeria, a visit to this remarkable museum is highly recommended.

Read also, The Top 10 Best Cities to Live in Nigeria in 2023

Badagry Heritage Museum

Ancient Museums to Visit in Nigeria

The Badagry Heritage Museum is located at Lander Road, Marina, Badagry, Lagos. This museum was constructed in 1963. The thoughts of the Badagry people wanting to keep their heritage and history intact birth this museum. This Museum houses the records, artifacts, and culture of the Badagry people. Visitors who want to know more about the African slave trade to the point of its abolition must visit this spot to be more enlightened. The museum houses several statues and frames which are self-explanatory.

National Museum Jos

Ancient Museums to Visit in Nigeria

The National Museum Jos is located at 1 Museum Street, Jos, Plateau State. Bernard Fagg brought this museum to life in 1952. This museum is situated just opposite a zoo. A visit to this museum not only showcases the beautiful historical treasures but visitors also experience the marvels of the natural world. In January 1987, several valuable artifacts were stolen, and UNESCO took a record of this loss. This museum showcases interesting artifacts, offers a glimpse into the colonial era and also features items relevant to railway and tin mining industries.

Gidan Makama Museum, Kano

Ancient Museums to Visit in Nigeria

Gidan Makama Museum Kano is located at Emir Palace Road, Wudilawa, Kano. Gidan Makama was originally the residence of the Emir of Kano from the 15th century until 1953 when it was transformed into a museum. Every gallery in this museum has its own special and unique story to tell. The first captivating part of this museum is the building structure. Kano has beautiful historical treasures. Within the museum walls lies great scene of the captivating history and culture of the Kano people. Visitors who want to know more about Kano’s history and legacy should consider this spot a must-visit.

Esie Museum, Kwara State

Ancient Museums to Visit in Nigeria

The Esie Museum, popularly known as the House of Images, is located in the Esie community in Kwara state. This pioneering museum is the first museum in Nigeria established in the year 1945. One of the unique features of this museum is its collection of over a thousand stone images portraying human beings. The soapstone image collection in this museum is second to none in the world. These soapstone images were discovered by the members of the Esie community in the year 1775. This spot is internationally known as a premier tourist destination.

Calabar Old Residency Museum

Ancient Museums to Visit in Nigeria

The Calabar Old Residency Museum is located at Eyo Ekpo Lane, Calabar, Cross River. This museum was initially named the government house. This house was erected in 1884 during the colonial era in the city of Calabar. It was recognized as a National monument in 1959 and renovated by the National Commission for Museums and Monuments in 1986. The purpose of its construction was to serve as accommodations for British officials in the Niger area, so it was originally prefabricated in Britain. To gain enlightening experience about the rich history of Calabar and the Cross River region, this spot is a must-visit.

Ilorin National Museum

Ancient Museums to Visit in Nigeria

The Ilorin National Museum is located at 14 Abdulkadir Road, GRA Ilorin. This museum was established in 1988. The commission’s objective is to establish museums across every geopolitical zone and state in Nigeria. This museum houses several cultural artifacts with beautiful settings showcasing the rich historical heritage of Nigeria’s colonial and post-colonial eras. Whether you are a culture lover, a history enthusiast, or simply seeking an enriching experience, this museum is a must-visit destination.


Nigeria has several museums that showcase the nation’s historical treasures in unique ways. The ancient museums in Nigeria having ancient collections of artifacts and exhibits have been carefully selected. A visit to any of these spots will leave you awe-inspired and increase your knowledge about Nigeria.

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I'm Emmanuel Ayodele, a Travel Writer. As a passionate travel writer, I embark on exhilarating journeys to capture the essence of captivating destinations. With a keen eye for detail, I immerse myself in local cultures, uncovering hidden gems and sharing my personal adventures through evocative storytelling. I strive to inspire and inform readers, as I believe that each travel experience has the power to transform and enrich our lives. Let my words transport you to extraordinary places, igniting your wanderlust with every page.

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