Livingstone Museum Zambia
The Livingstone Museum, Zambia: A Storied Journey through Time
In the heart of Zambia, on the cusp of the majestic Victoria Falls, sits the Livingstone Museum, an age-old guardian of history, artefacts and a thousand stories that piece together the nation's vibrant tapestry. As the oldest and largest museum in Zambia, it is a treasured chronicle of local history and prehistory, and a tribute to the explorer and missionary, David Livingstone.
The museum's story began in 1934, emerging as the David Livingstone Memorial Museum. In a twist of destiny, Captain A.W. Whittington, in 1948, offered to sell the museum two fossilized human femur specimens, known as the "Rhodesian man". However, the museum, then known as the Rhodes-Livingstone Museum, was unable to finance the purchase.
The year 1951 saw the museum expand into a new, Spanish colonial-style building. Jock Millar, a former mayor of Livingstone, requested Harry Susman to donate a 'four-faced' tower clock to the museum. Tragically, Susman passed away before the clock could be unveiled in the museum's African Modern Art exhibition.
In 1960, the museum undertook an ambitious project, recreating villages from five ethnic groups within its African Modern Art exhibit. This unique endeavour was designed to transport visitors back in time, offering them an immersive experience of tribal life during the bronze and iron age. In 1966, the museum underwent a name change, shedding its original moniker, the Rhodes–Livingstone Museum, to adopt its current name, the Livingstone Museum.
The turn of the millennium in 2003 saw the museum receive a much-needed facelift, funded by the European Union. Throughout its history, the museum has been an active participant and trustee of numerous archaeological expeditions within Zambia. Notably, in 1956, it was a trustee, alongside the National Monuments Commission of Northern Rhodesia and the Wenner-Gren Foundation, of the excavation of the Kalambo Falls Prehistoric Site.
In 2005, the museum added two statues to its premises – one of David Livingstone, in whose honour the museum is named, and another of Emil Holub, a renowned Czech doctor, explorer, cartographer, and ethnographer who was instrumental in creating the first map of the Victoria Falls region.
The Livingstone Museum is not just a museum; it's a journey back in time, a cultural hub, and an enduring symbol of Zambia's proud heritage and history. It invites visitors from around the world to step into the past, to learn, to explore, and to be inspired by the nation's rich cultural tapestry.
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