Things to do in Lagos: The National Museum

The National Museum, Onikan

I’m one of those few people who like going to museums.  (If you’re one too, say hi! :-))  Anyway, because I like going to museums, I’ve been wanting to go to the National Museum in Lagos for a while.  The last time I went there was years ago so I felt it was time for me to visit again and I’m glad I did.  The museum had completely changed!  The whole place had been re-arranged and was completely air-conditioned making it place more conducive for lingering.

A few of the sculptures at the museum

The National Museum is most famous for having the car in which Murtala Muhammed, one of Nigeria’s former Military rulers, was assassinated – morbid but probably one of the museum’s biggest draws.  The thing I remember most about what I saw at the museum was the Dufuna canoe.  The Dufuna canoe is an 8000 year-old canoe that was found in the north-eastern part of Nigeria in 1987 when a Fulani herdsman went digging for water.  He found the canoe instead.  Although the canoe isn’t at the National Museum, information about it is and I found the story of a canoe found in what is almost a desert fascinating.  Perhaps it’s because I studied Geology or because I like the unusual but the Dufuna canoe stuck in my mind.

Part of a mural at the museum

Of course, if you’re not interested in ancient canoes (and I’m sure they’re many of you out there 😉 ), there are other things at the museum like old sculptures from Ife and other parts of Nigeria as well as information on the culture of different tribes across the country that might attract your interest.


I found it odd though that there was very little information or artifacts about slave trade at the museum.  Slave trade is a big part of Nigerian history and Lagos, where the museum is located was one of the biggest slave trade ports at that time.  Slave trade isn’t something to be proud of but it is certainly something that needs to be remembered and a museum is one of the best places for people to get that information.  Perhaps slave trade history and artifacts will be included in the National Museum’s collection someday soon.


The National Museum is at Onikan in Lagos.  Entry costs N100 per person.

To read other things to do in Lagos articles, click here.

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