Passing through Butare anytime soon? Here’s a must-see!
As you’re coming into town, you’ll notice several signs for the National Museum of Rwanda. This collection of buildings, towards the north end of Butare, is popping full of some of the key fixtures in Rwandan history and culture. We highly recommend that anyone coming down take the time to stop in and check it out!
There are several main rooms, which include many aesthetic and informative showcases. Discover the key elements of Rwanda’s geology, observe traditional hunting weapons as they evolve – take in beadwork, handmade earthenware pots, and of course, one of Rwanda’s cultural icons, woven basket art. The tall, almost cone-shaped baskets are seen everywhere in Rwanda even today, used to store anything from clothes to trinkets to cookingware. They come in all sizes, from miniature to large enough to hold a person. At the museum, you can see a wide variety of these baskets and learn more about their typical use both historically and today.
In addition, you can see some of Rwanda’s famous drumming culture, and even get up close to several of the most historically significant drums in the country. Wars were literally fought in historical Rwanda with these drums as a fixture.
One of the most exciting exhibits of the museum is a re-creation of the traditional housing for Rwanda’s King – as a visitor, you are allowed to actually take a stroll inside!
If you’re interested in squeezing the most from your experience at the museum, we highly recommend asking for a guide to host your tour – chockfull of fascinating information, and fluent in both English and French, it’s definitely worth taking the extra time to meander the museum with one of these guides. The entry price is 2,000 Rwandan francs, and the museum offers a small gift shop with Rwandan handicrafts and igitenge (traditional cloth) bags.
If you happen to be headed our way for some ice cream, we hope you’ll take the time to stop in the museum for a wonderful Rwandan immersion!
Basket – Agaseke (“Ah-gah-say-kay”)
Drum – Ngoma (“nn-goh-mah”)
To Visit – Gusura (“goo-soooo-rah”)
Culture – Umuco (“ooh-moo-choo”)