Cultural & Museum Centre Karonga
The Cultural & Museum Centre Karonga (CMCK), or more commonly known as the Karonga Museum, is a key cultural and educational institution located in the Karonga District in northern Malawi. This noteworthy establishment was officially inaugurated by then-President Bingu wa Mutharika in November 2004.
The mission of the CMCK is to preserve and promote the diverse natural and cultural heritage of Karonga. The museum exhibits a fascinating collection of dinosaur fossils, early human remains, and prehistoric artifacts that provide visitors with a deeper understanding of human origins and the history of life on earth. The Department of Antiquities, under the Department of Culture in the Ministry of Information, Tourism, and Culture, works in collaboration with the Uraha Foundation to collect, preserve, and display these significant artifacts.
A significant part of the Cultural Exhibition at the CMCK is community participation. Traditional and community leaders were encouraged to contribute to the collection of different exhibits.
One of the main attractions at the museum is the 130-million-year-old fossil of the Malawisaurus, which was discovered just 45 km south from the centre site. This dinosaur fossil is a central part of the museum's exhibition.
The Cultural & Museum Centre Karonga also serves as a communal hub for cultural activities, providing a meeting place for the people of Karonga and visitors alike. Though still under construction, the Centre is envisioned to host a wide variety of cultural events, including drama, dance performances, and music and choir events.
The CMCK showcases 240 million years of Karonga's history, from dinosaurs to democracy. Displays include prehistoric landscapes, animals, early humans and their way of life, archaeological records, the history of the slave trade, colonial times, Malawi under Dr. Banda, and the culture and traditions of the people of Karonga.
The building that houses the CMCK was constructed in 2004 at a cost of K30 million (US$276,000). The design was inspired by the excavated bones of the Malawisaurus, the star attraction at the museum. However, in 2014, the collection of fossils and other artifacts at the Centre faced a threat from weather damage, leading to an appeal for K30 million for the repair of the Onduline roof.
Designed by British architect Kevin M Davies (BA(Hons) Dip Arch (Comm) RIBA ARB MIA Director & Chartered Architect), the building is one of his most cherished projects.
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