- FileStudio Libeskind
Work at Ngaren, the Museum of Humankind, commissioned by paleoanthropologist Dr. Richard Leakey is set to begin in 2022.
Located in Turkana, Ngaren is going to be Africa’s most iconic and technologically advanced museum, as its to be built at the location believed to be the cradle of mankind - where Dr Leakey first discovered the nearly complete skeleton of Turkana Boy in 1984.
“Ngaren is not just another museum, but a call to action. As we peer back through the fossil record, through layer upon layer of long extinct species, many of which thrived far longer that the human species is ever likely to do, we are reminded of our mortality as a species.” Dr Leakey stated during an interview.
He further revealed that the museum would present over two million years of human history.Ngaren Museum interior.File
Standing 80 metres tall, the iconic structure is inspired by ancient hand axes and other primitive tools.
It was designed by Polish architect Daniel Libeskind, whose other works include the Jewish Museum in Berlin, Imperial War Museum North, Manchester; Denver Art Museum; Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco; Danish Jewish Museum; Royal Ontario Museum; and the Military History Museum, Dresden.
By May 2019, the project had raised Ksh400 million via online social investment platforms, with the overall project expected to cost more than Ksh1 billion.
The museum will employ the use of technology such as Virtual Reality (VR) headsets for visitors to be able to interact with the early humans and explore the lush green forest days of Turkana.
“Maybe we don't want to exhibit the original fossils at all. Why don't we have a room you come in to wearing a 3D headset and sit quietly in the middle of a band of Homo erectus moving all around you? That's much more interesting than a skeleton of Turkana Boy behind glass,” the famous paleoanthropologist detailed.
The Turkana County government, which fully supports his vision, committed to upgrading roads and building an airport to usher in visitors.Ngaren musuem design.Studio Libeskind
Ngaren will run entirely from renewable energy with a zero-carbon footprint.
The geology and the history of Turkana means one can trace the human story from today continuously back to just under five million years ago in one place.
In 2017, Libeskind said that the museum would be a physical manifestation of Africa with a chamber of humanity, a planetarium, and a dinosaur hall.
The museum will occupy a 300-acre plot of land that was donated by Dr Leakey's family.
The Leakey family is a British and Kenyan family consisting of a number of notable military figures, agricultural scientists and archaeologists of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Originally a family from Somerset and Devon in south-west England in the 1500-1600s, it has spread worldwide.
The Kenyan branch can be traced back to the Bazett sisters who were early missionaries at the turn of 19th Century; with Mary Bazett marrying Harry Leakey before setting up a Mission School at Kabete.
Ngaren which is meant to be a cutting edge site for education and research into our origin, history and future will be open to the public in 2024.
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