The National Museum of Kenya is in the process of constructing the first underwater museum in Kenya and in Sub-Saharan Africa.
This comes after a long-running process carried out by the Archaeology department in the Coastal Region to discover shipwrecks along Kenya’s Coastal line so as to set up the museum.
The underwater museum will be a major boost in the tourism sector and consequently, the country’s economy.
Head of archeology at the National Museum Kenya, Coast region, Dr. Caesar Bita has added that the underwater museum is in line with the blue economy’s vision.
The blue economy vision, created in 2017, involves the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health.
“The country is pushing for the implementation of the Blue Economy for sustainable economic development. The museum will attract more tourists who will, in turn, improve our economy,” Dr. Bita said.
According to the archaeology department in the coastal region, the underwater museum will be built at the site of a shipwreck at Ngomeni, a historic fishing village in the North Coast.
The shipwrecks will be left underwater since according to archaeologists, the sea offers a conducive environment for their survival and if brought out of the water, they will decay.
Dr. Bita noted that underwater heritage has remained unexploited in Kenya and in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the museum will provide an opportunity for both local and international tourists to enjoy the discoveries.
Currently, shipwrecks are displayed on land at the Ngomeni shipwreck center but the National Museum of Kenya now wants to give tourists the opportunity to explore the wrecks under water.
Underwater museums have become major tourist attractions in other countries, with the largest one in Mexico, displaying over 500 life-sized sculptures.
According to the National Museums of Kenya, once it is complete, there will be tour guides who will be guiding people under the water and each wreck will have a placard that tells its history.
As of today, there are 33 ancient shipwrecks that are documented but the Kenyan archaeologists believe that there could be more.