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Hargeisa Provincial Museum

Hargeisa Provincial Museum: A Beacon of Somali Cultural Renaissance

Nestled in the city of Hargeisa in the northwestern Woqooyi Galbeed province of Somalia, you'll find a remarkable monument of cultural preservation: the Hargeisa Provincial Museum (HPM). Founded in 1977, it proudly stands as the first museum established in the country since its independence in 1960, marking an important milestone in the nation's post-colonial journey.

A Cultural Movement Takes Root

The birth of the Hargeisa Provincial Museum can be traced back to the robust cultural movement that arose in Hargeisa in the mid-1970s. This spirited initiative propelled the establishment of this cherished institution, which became an integral part of a vibrant cultural center, complete with a theater and a library.

The HPM's design is deeply rooted in Somali tradition. The building, boasting two concentric rings and a central circular structure, draws inspiration from the "mundul," a traditional hut used by Somali farmers. This locally designed and constructed 650 m² museum, executed by Osman Dahir Adan, exudes a strong sense of national identity.

Chronicling Hargeisa's Heritage

Upon its inauguration in 1977, the Hargeisa Provincial Museum opened its doors to an ethnographic exhibition, largely comprised of donations from Hargeisa's residents. The artifacts were initially displayed in two lengthy cabinets sans glass, one in each hall, overseen by only two attendants. However, the collection and building began to show signs of deterioration due to inadequate maintenance.

The museum underwent significant renovations in 1981. The former showcases were dismantled, replaced by 23 smaller, glass-encased displays. Additional improvements included the installation of netting in front of windows, a fresh coat of paint, and a thorough cleaning of the collection. Initially exhibiting around 4,000 artifacts, the new exhibition was pared down to approximately 1,400 items, with the remainder placed in storage. A dedicated display was created to showcase the firearms used by Sayyid Mohammed Abdullah Hassan and his men between 1901 and 1921, providing a glimpse into the nation's tumultuous past.

The Hargeisa Provincial Museum, through its preservation of Somali heritage and its embrace of local design, serves as a shining beacon of Hargeisa's cultural renaissance, promoting both national pride and global understanding.

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Hargeisa, Somalia
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