Kenya National Museum Library

Cite as:

Mutonga, Syokau. 2019. "Kenya National Museum Library." In Scholarly Memory in Nairobi, Kenya: Care for Sites and Sourcescreated by Angela Okune, Trevas Matathia and Syokau Mutonga. In Innovating STS Digital Exhibit, curated by Aalok Khandekar and Kim Fortun. Society for Social Studies of Science. August.

Essay Meta-Narrative

The joint Library of the National Museums of Kenya and East African Natural History Society (Nature Kenya) was established in 1910 with an aim of maintaining a reference collection for research. The Library is open for use to members of the Museums staff, researchers working temporarily at any of the Museums, members of the Museum Board of Governors, members of Nature Kenya, Members of the Kenya Museum Society, Librarians of the established libraries recognized by Kenya Library Association, and members of the general public at a minimal fee. The NMK Library houses information focused on botany, entomology, herpetology, biodiversity, paleontology, archaeology. In our search for information and artifacts on National Museums of Kenya Library, we noted that nearly all of the information publically available was focused on the museum and not the library services.

This essay is part of a broader essay on Scholarly Memory in Nairobi, Kenya which includes McMillan Library, Kenya National Museum Library, British Institute in Eastern Africa Archives, Kenya National Archives, and PALIAct Ukombozi Library.

Essay Bibliography

AFP. 2018. “The Faces behind the Revival of the McMillan Library.” Daily Nation , August 11, 2018. more

Shared Questions: Innovating STS

All Innovating STS exhibits are oriented by nine shared questions in order to generate comparative insight. These are:

ARTICULATION: What STS innovations (of theory, methodology, pedagogy...Read more

About Innovating STS

Furthering its theme, Innovations, Interruptions, Regenerations , the 2019 annual 4S meeting in New Orleans will include a special exhibit, Innovating STS , that showcases innovations ...Read more


This section highlights important perspectives raised by those engaging with the creation and maintainance of spaces and materials of archives and libraries.


This section foregrounds artifacts created about this site either by the founders, key actors involved in the site, or others. It also includes materials that are interlinked or related such as descriptions about the digital repository third-party organizations or relevant materials found in the spaces themselves.

Leakey, Richard. “National Museum of Kenya Report for 1977-1979.” Annual Report. Nairobi: National Museums of Kenya

SM: This section of the annual report in 1979 gives a broad history of why the National Museums Library was started and the audience that it caters for. Read more

Karega-Munene. “Museums in Kenya: Spaces for Selecting, Ordering and Erasing Memories of Identity and Nationhood.” African Studies 70, no. 2 (August 1, 2011): 224–45.

SM: This article by Karega Munene sets a background for why the National Museums of Kenya has the collection it owns and the reasons for why some items (books and other artifacts) are excluded or included within the collection.Read more