Tayiana Chao on Archives in Nairobi


With regards to identifying archives around the city, I think some of the collections that are generally not talked about are parastatal archives. This [would include] Kenya Railways, Kenya Posta, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, etc. Because they are both private and public institutions, the question of whether their archives should be accessible [to the public] is not clearly defined. Some of them contain excellent research sources spanning decades, regions and generations but access is often stone walled, too bureaucratic or too expensive...For instance, I recently spoke to a lady doing a PhD on the colonial representation of the Kenya-Uganda railway and she wasn't even aware that the railway museum has an archive of nearly 30,000 photographs, numerous maps, records and audiovisual materials. Despite having visited the railway museum a number of times...So information on such spaces or rather collections is really nowhere to be found…


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Contributed date

August 2, 2019 - 6:18pm

Critical Commentary

AO: I was put in touch with Tayiana Chao, founder of African Digital Heritage by Syokau Mutonga in July 2019 and we had a great conversation where she described some of the projects that ADH are working on including cultural heritage training workshops in Nairobi for "a vibrant, growing, digital age". In one of our follow-up emails, Chao shared this information and I repost it here with her permission in order to point future researchers towards interesting areas they could further investigate and also to emphasize again to readers that this exhibit is just a first snapshot of the wide and diverse range of archives and libraries throughout the city.


Email correspondence with Tayiana Chao of African Digital Heritage

Cite as

Tayiana Chao, "Tayiana Chao on Archives in Nairobi", contributed by , STS Infrastructures, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 2 August 2019, accessed 6 June 2023. https://stsinfrastructures.org/content/tayiana-chao-archives-nairobi