After a closure of 2 years for renovations, the Nairobi National Museum was officially opened on 14th July 2008. The ceremony was presided over by the President, while many other dignitaries were in attendance. With the official opening of the museum, visitor numbers are now up. The majority of the visitors are school groups and a number of tourists, but there are now more and more individuals and families visiting the museum.
The museum building that was renovated was an old Victorian Style building. It therefore didn’t have suitable access for people with wheelchairs. The renovations improved access by adding lifts and ramps to the building. These renovations have also emphasized outstanding aspects of the old building such as circular columns, while adding modern fixtures and fittings that give a nice feeling to the building.
The general look on the outside was also improved with landscaping done, a herb garden introduced and various artworks. There is also a Visitor Centre, which has a coffee shop, restaurant and two handicraft shops. Some people just come to use this area of the museum, but are also drawn into the museum on the day, or make a point of coming another time to visit the museum.
The museum is using some of the space set to be for galleries (in phase two of the renovation) in the meantime for corporate functions. The outside of the museum, which was landscaped, is also used for similar functions. These have proved very popular and attracted many groups who would not ordinarily come to the museum complex. They may in turn, be drawn back again for a proper visit to the museum, and might even bring their families or friends along.