Geographical Location and Historical Background
Kisumu Museum is located in Kisumu town along the Kisumu - Kericho highway. It was opened to the public in 1980.The museum stores and disseminates information on cultural and scientific issues with emphasis on Western Kenya. Exhibits include cultural history. The museum provides educational services to schools in its neighbourhood.
Striking features of the museum include a diverse collection of flora and fauna species. The most notable animals are reptiles and amphibians, collected from Nyanza and neighbouring provinces. A traditional Luo homestead and other traditional Luo artifacts constitute part of the exhibits the museum keeps.
Research activities also feature prominently. In recent years, the Kisumu museum has participated in multinational investigation on limnology (a scientific characteristic of fresh water lakes) of Lake Victoria conducted from the International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) at Mbita in Kisumu.
Kisumu museum is also a gravity point for seminars and workshops both international and local.
Attached to Kisumu museum are a number of sites and monuments of historical significance including Fort Tenan, Songhor, Thimlich Ohinga and Rusinga Islands
Sites and Monuments
Tom Mboya Mausoleum
It was built in honour and remembrance of the late Tom Mboya. This is a burial place of Tom Mboya. It has information on the family, and Luo history. Tom Mboya?s role as an international agent of Kenyan government is also presented. The transfer of this mausoleum to the care and protection of the National Museums of Kenya has led to its proper management and conservation.
The Mausoleum will form an infrastructure of the greater museum to come on the Rusinga Island.
Kanam prehistoric site
Kanam is situated along the shores of Lake Victoria on Homa Peninsular around Homa Mountain. The site was gazzetted in August 1933. In 1932, Louis Leakey’s expedition discovered a fossil human mandible together with Pleistocene fauna and pebble tools in the early Pleistocene Kanam beds at Kanam West. Initially, it was thought to be australopithecine. Doubts were thrown against this specimen, and Leakey suggested that the fossil was that of Homo sapiens but later Leakey supported Sir A. Keith’s view of australopithecine. Today, they are seen to be Neanderthaloid. Recently, researchers found palaeontological bones dating between 1 and 6 million years ago at the site.
Simbi Nyaima means the village that sank. Simbi Nyaima is actually a crater lake a few kilometers from the shores of Lake Victoria. The Luo attach great importance to the site because of the legendary story. It is said that the people of Simbi were celebrating their success at the chief’s home. An old woman appeared at the scene looking for shelter and food. But the chief threatened to beat her up if she stayed. She was forced to leave and one lady sympathized with her and gave her food and a warm bath. She advised the kind lady to leave the village with all her children and husband.
No sooner had they left than a heavy storm swept the whole village and it sank. The locals believe it happened in the olden days.