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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

National Museum of Ethiopia

National Museum of Ethiopia

National Museum of Ethiopia

The National Museum of Ethiopia houses the nation’s artistic treasures as well as precious archaeological finds such as the fossilized remains of early hominids, the most famous of which is “Lucy,”. Recently added is a display on Selam, estimated to be 3.3 million years old, considered to be the earliest child.

The museum exhibitions include archaeological,  paleoanthropological, objects from ancient and medieval periods, regalia and memorabilia from former rulers, artwork, a collection of secular arts and crafts. The museum tries to give an overview of the cultural richness and variety of the peoples of Ethiopia.

Highlights of the National Museum of Ethiopia

A Tour of the National Museum of Ethiopia

  • Throne of Emperor Haile Selassie
    • The Throne of Emperor Haile Selassie was used by Haile Selassie I (1892 – 1975), who was Ethiopia’s emperor from 1930 to 1974. He came to global prominence at the League of Nations in 1936, the emperor condemned the use of chemical weapons by Italy against his people during the Second Italo–Ethiopian War.

      Emperor Haile Selassie internationalist views led to Ethiopia becoming a charter member of the United Nations, and his political thought and experience in promoting multilateralism and collective security have secured his legacy.

  • Ethiopian Crown
    • The Ethiopian Crown was worn by Emperor Menelik II (1844 – 1913) as Emperor of Ethiopia (1889 – 1913). Menelik claimed he was descended from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. At the height of his power, the process of the creation of the modern empire-state was completed with the expansion of the Ethiopian Empire territory.

      Menelik was also famous for leading Ethiopian troops against the Kingdom of Italy in the First Italo-Ethiopian War, where Melenik scored a decisive victory at the Battle of Adwa.

  • Selam (Australopithecus)
    • Selam or DIK-1/1 is the fossilized skull and other skeletal remains of a three-year-old Australopithecus afarensis female hominin, whose bones were first found in Dikika, Ethiopia in 2000. Also nicknamed Lucy’s baby, the specimen has been dated at 3.3 million years ago, approximately 120,000 years older than “Lucy” dated to about 3.18 mya.

      The fossils are remarkable for their age plus the dig in Dikika, Ethiopia, is only a few miles south of Hadar, the well-known site where the fossil hominin known as Lucy was found. The features of this skeleton suggest adaptation to walking upright as well as tree-climbing, features that correspond well with the skeletal elements of Lucy and other specimens of Australopithecus afarensis from Ethiopia and Tanzania.

  • Lucy (Australopithecus)
    • Lucy or AL 288-1 is the fossilized skeletal remains of several hundred pieces of bone fossils representing 40% of the skeleton of a female of the hominin species Australopithecus afarensis. In Ethiopia, the collection is also known as Dinkinesh, which means “you are marvelous” in the Amharic language.

      Lucy was discovered in 1974 near the village Hadar in the Awash Valley of the Afar Triangle in Ethiopia. The Lucy specimen is an early australopithecine and is dated to about 3.2 million years ago. The skeleton presents a small skull akin to that of non-hominin apes, plus evidence of a walking-gait that was bipedal and upright.

National Museum of Ethiopia

  • Museum:                 National Museum of Ethiopia
  • City:                         Addis Ababa
  • Country:                  Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
  • Type:                        National Museum
  • Location:                  Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

A Tour of African Museums

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“He who knows much does not speak much.”
– Ethiopian Proverb

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Photo Credits: 1) By Richardal (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

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