The Olduvai Gorge Site Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the history of human evolution. It is one of the biggest onsite museums in Africa, located at the excavation site of Olduvai Gorge and near the Laetoli Footprints site. The museum exhibits the earliest evidence found in Olduvai Gorge and Laetoli Footprints that holds the earliest evidence of the existence of human ancestors. Moreover, the museum showcases other findings from elsewhere in Africa.
Overall, the exhibits at the Olduvai Gorge Site Museum offer a fascinating glimpse into the history and culture of the Olduvai Gorge region, making it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in anthropology, geology, or natural history.
Are you interested in understanding the history of human evolution? Do you want to explore the earliest evidence of human existence? If yes, then The Olduvai Gorge Site Museum is the perfect place for you. Situated in Tanzania, this museum is one of the largest museums in Africa, located at the excavation site of Olduvai Gorge and near the Laetoli Footprints site. Additionally, the museum showcases other findings from elsewhere in Africa. Let’s dive into the museum and explore what it has to offer.
The Olduvai Gorge is an incredibly significant site in the history of human evolution. It has been studied by archaeologists and paleontologists for over a century, and continues to yield new discoveries that shed light on the earliest humans and their behaviors. The museum showcases the history of the gorge, and the numerous discoveries that have been made there over the years. From the first fossil finds to the latest research on human evolution, the museum offers visitors a comprehensive look at the history of the area.
Visitors can view a variety of exhibits at the museum, including bones and tools found in the area. There are also interactive displays that allow visitors to experience what life was like for early humans, and how they lived and survived in the harsh environment of the gorge. The museum is a great way to learn about the history of the Olduvai Gorge, and how it has contributed to our understanding of human evolution.
One of the largest onsite museums in Africa
The Olduvai Gorge Site Museum is located in the heart of Tanzania, six kilometers from the main road junction where the Zinjanthropus monument stands on the way to Serengeti National Park. The museum is situated at the edge of the Gorge’s bank, overlooking the famous rock castle in the midsection of the Gorge, just at the confluence of the side and mini-gorge river valleys. The museum is one of the few onsite museums in Africa, and it offers extensive archaeological and cultural exhibits directly related to the Gorge. Visitors can learn about the Gorge’s history, discoveries, and overall history up to the present day.
The History of the Museum and the New Museum
The Olduvai Gorge Site Museum has a rich history dating back to the Leakey era. The original museum was built during this time, and it was inherited by the Department of Antiquities in the 1990s. However, in 2017, a new museum was opened, and today both the old and new museums are running concurrently with the same mission of highlighting mankind’s unique history in the NCA.
A Journey into the Earliest Days of Mankind
The Olduvai Gorge Museum is a fascinating journey back in time to the earliest days of mankind. It showcases numerous fossils and stone tools from our hominid ancestors, as well as skeletons of many extinct animals excavated in the Gorge. Following an interesting lecture on the work done by scientists, realistic copies of the most important findings can be easily viewed. This makes it an interactive and engaging experience for all visitors.
The Museum’s Founder
The Olduvai Gorge Site Museum was founded by Mary Leakey, a British archaeologist who is credited with many important discoveries in the field of paleoanthropology. She and her husband, Louis Leakey, discovered the Zinjanthropus skull at Olduvai Gorge in 1959, which provided crucial evidence for the evolution of early humans. Today, the museum is dedicated to the appreciation and understanding of the Olduvai Gorge and Laetoli fossil discoveries.
Exhibits at the Museum
The Olduvai Gorge Site Museum offers a wide range of exhibits for visitors to explore. The museum has a collection of fossils and artifacts that date back over two million years. Some of the most famous exhibits include:
The Laetoli Footprints
The Laetoli Footprints are one of the most famous exhibits at the Olduvai Gorge Site Museum. These footprints are over three million years old and provide some of the earliest evidence of human ancestors walking on two legs.
The Zinjanthropus Skull
The Zinjanthropus Skull is another famous exhibit at the museum. It is the skull of an extinct hominid species that was discovered at Olduvai Gorge in 1959. The discovery of this skull provided crucial evidence for the evolution of early humans.
The Hominid Exhibit
The Hominid exhibit is one of the most popular exhibits at the museum. It showcases some of the earliest evidence of human existence, including fossils of Homo habilis, Paranthropus boisei, and Homo erectus. Visitors can learn about the physical characteristics of these early humans and how they lived in the Gorge.
The Stone Tools Exhibit
The Stone Tools exhibit showcases the development of stone tools by early humans. Visitors can see the evolution of stone tools from the Oldowan to the Acheulian period. The exhibit explains how these tools were used for hunting, butchering, and other activities.
The Fauna Exhibit
The Fauna exhibit displays skeletons of many extinct animals that roamed the Gorge millions of years ago. Visitors can see fossils of elephants, rhinos, hippos, and many other animals that once lived in the area.
Location and Accessibility
The Olduvai Gorge Site Museum is located in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), a UNESCO World Heritage site in Tanzania. The museum is situated six kilometers from the main road junction where the Zinjanthropus monument stands on the way to Serengeti National Park. It is easily accessible by road, and visitors can hire a taxi or use public transportation to reach the museum.
The Museum’s Architecture
The museum has two buildings, one old and one new, which both highlight mankind’s unique history in the NCA. The old building was constructed in 1972 and features a traditional thatched roof. It has a rustic charm and displays some of the earliest fossils discovered in the Gorge. The new building was constructed in 2008 and features modern architecture. It has state-of-the-art facilities and showcases some of the latest discoveries in the field of paleoanthropology.
Are you interested in learning about ancient human history and the findings made in and around the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania? If so, the Olduvai Gorge Museum is a must-visit destination for you. Enclosed in its own compound, this museum has a separate dining area, a curio shop, a lecture room, and toilets all powered using a combination of wind mills and solar panels. Moreover, it has a viewpoint overlooking the gorge that provides stunning views far into the distance in the directions of both Nasera rock and Ngorongoro crater.
What to Do at Olduvai Gorge Museum
The primary reason to visit the Olduvai Gorge Museum is to observe the Olduvai Gorge from a higher vantage point. While there are other more beautiful parts of the gorge that you can get to via a short drive or walk, such as the large Olduvai (Olduvai kubwa), the viewpoint at the museum provides an excellent opportunity to understand the landscape and how it has changed over the years.
In addition, the museum has some interesting bits of information about the gorge and findings that were made there. You can learn about the various hominid fossils that were found in the area, including the famous discovery of Zinjanthropus boisei, a robust Australopithecus species. The museum also has a shop where you could buy souvenirs from.
Best Time to Visit
The Olduvai Gorge Museum is open throughout the year, and you can visit at any time. However, keep in mind that the best time to visit is during the dry season (June to October) when the weather is pleasant and the roads are more accessible.
Location of Olduvai Gorge Museum
The Olduvai Gorge Museum is an oasis in the middle of nowhere, a spark of civilization amidst a semi-arid landscape. It is located south of the Olduvai Gorge and in the western part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, near its border with the Serengeti National Park. You can find the exact location on the map below.
How to Get There
The easiest way to get to the Olduvai Gorge Museum is by vehicle. It is much closer to the Serengeti National Park, Lake Ndutu (southwest), and the Loliondo Game Controlled Area (north), and about a two-hour drive from Loduare gate. Since it is inside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, you would need to pay for the respective permits before heading out here.
Some frequently asked questions about the Olduvai Gorge Museum:
What is the Olduvai Gorge Museum?
The Olduvai Gorge Museum is a museum located in the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, East Africa. The museum showcases the prehistoric artifacts and fossils found in the Olduvai Gorge, which is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world.
What can I see at the Olduvai Gorge Museum?
The museum has a collection of fossils and artifacts from the Olduvai Gorge, including early human ancestors such as Australopithecus boisei and Homo habilis. There are also displays on the geology, ecology, and history of the Olduvai Gorge.
When is the Olduvai Gorge Museum open?
The museum is open daily from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm, including weekends and holidays.
What is the admission fee for the Olduvai Gorge Museum?
The admission fee for the museum is $36 for non-residents and 10,000 Tanzanian Shillings for residents of Tanzania.
Is there a guide service available at the museum?
Yes, there are trained guides available at the museum who can provide guided tours and share their knowledge about the exhibits.
Are there any restrictions for photography at the museum?
Photography is allowed inside the museum, but flash photography is not permitted.
Is there a gift shop at the museum?
Yes, there is a gift shop at the museum where visitors can purchase souvenirs, books, and other items related to the Olduvai Gorge and its history.
Is there a cafeteria or restaurant at the museum?
Yes, there is a restaurant at the museum that serves snacks and drinks. However, visitors are also welcome to bring their own food and drinks and have a picnic in the museum’s picnic area.