About Chad National Museum
Chad National Museum (Musee National N’Djamena) is a history museum in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena. When it opened in 1962, Chad National Museum was divided into 3 main sections: prehistory, including artefacts from the Stone Age, protohistory and folk art and traditions.
Unfortunately, many of Chad National Museum’s artefacts and exhibits have since been looted during unrest in the country. Please check with your national government’s foreign office before considering travelling to Chad.
Chad National Museum history
Chad gained independence from the French Empire in 1960 and shortly after established a National Museum in October 1962. At the time, the museum was located in Fort-Lamy, the former colonial capital of Chad. Resultantly, the decision was made in 1964 to relocate the museum to the former town hall near the Place de l’Indépendance, reflecting the symbolic establishment of independent national institution.
When the museum was established it contained 4 rooms dedicated to prehistory, protohistory, archives and folk art, crafts and traditions. The prehistory room displayed items relating to early pebble culture, as well as Paleolithic implements such as axes, millstones and quartz and obsidian arrowheads. The collections also housed baked bricks, attributed to the Boulala and Babalia people, discovered at the Bouta-Kabira sanctuary. The museum boasted a notable collection of musical instruments, too.
A long-lasting civil war from 1965 which erupted into a Chadian-Libyan conflict in 1978 saw Idriss Déby established as long-serving authoritarian president. Since, Chad has been plagued by political violence and a poor human rights record, especially since the Darfur Crisis in Sudan spilled over the border in 2003. A result of the instability has been looting of Chad National Museum, with some of the original collections missing.
Chad National Museum today
Today, the Chad National Museum is housed in an impressive red modern building next to the national library, and is open to the public for a small charge. Despite all the captions being in French, you can easily identify what they represent without a guide.
Upstairs you can find the skill of the Toumai Man, regarded widely by Chadians as the world’s earliest human ancestor. You can spend around an hour exploring the museum.
Getting to Chad National Museum
Located in the centre of Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, the easiest way of reaching the museum is by driving. Situated just off the Djamena-Moundou highway running through the city, there is parking on-site. It is a 13 minute drive to the museum from N’Djamena International Airport.