Leakey lines up Sh8.2bn museum in Kajiado

Renowned paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey has commissioned the construction of a new Sh8.2 billion museum in Loodariak, Kajiado county to boost knowledge on human evolution.

Works on the facility, which has been designed by Daniel Libeskind, the architect who rebuilt the World Trade Center in New York, will begin later this year and is expected to be ready for use in 2026.

It will sit on 300 acres donated by Dr Leakey and his wife Maeve in honour of the family’s discovery of the best-preserved fossils of man’s ancient ancestors.

“Ngaren museum represents a celebration of the beginning of all humanity, of life and its amazing biodiversity. It is dedicated to educating humankind on our shared past and tells the story of our common ancestry, our epic journey of evolution,” said Dr Leakey, who is famous for discovering the most complete skeleton of an early human known as Turkana Boy.

Ngaren is being developed in collaboration with Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Museum and Research, Neatherlands and will be Africa’s first all-digital planetarium to display real-size African dinosaurs.

Ngaren museum project is being built in tandem with the East African Museum of Art, Nairobi (EMMA) where the later will tell East Africa’s art history from the dawn of human civilisation to the present times.

EAMAN is tasked with collection, preservation, research and display of the “wealth, genius, and diversity of Eastern African art”.

The facility will house the museum, partner institutions, a restaurant, conference rooms and a small amphitheatre to host events such as social, business, and family gatherings.

Ngaren will boast up to two million years of human history and the origins of the universe — from evolution to biodiversity, overpopulation, war, diseases, and climate change was well as discovery and exploration.

“As we peer back through the fossil record, through layer upon layer of long extinct species, many of which thrived far longer than the human species is ever likely to do, we are reminded of our mortality as a species,” says Dr Leakey.

The 75-year-old founder and his parents Loius and Mary Leakey dedicated their lives to paleo-anthropological discoveries mostly in the Rift Valley- especially unprecedented discoveries of hominin remains.

“We somehow think that we as humans are a special creation, we destroy bees wasting their ability to pollinate plants, we are destroying the plants themselves thereby raising temperatures that we no longer have nutritious food and “We are polluting our oceans collapsing their whole food chain,” he avers.

Dr Leakey has also commissioned the construction of another museum in Turkana, near the border with Ethiopia. Early design ideas show a cluster of irregularly-shaped buildings inspired by Stone Age hand axes and other tools unearthed nearby. The central hall rises 15-storeys above the desert. The site’s footprint’s shape is the outline of the African continent.

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