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Swazi History
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Swaziland visitor information

National Museum

Ethnography Section | Cultural Village | Natural History Wing

Objectives and Functions

The Museum has an essential role in preserving past traditions and culture for future generations. In 1974 the International Council of Museums (ICOM) defined the museum as a "non-profit making institution in the service of society and of its development and open to the public" (ICOM 1974). The objectives of the Museum are:

(a) to collect all natural and man-made objects that reflect both natural and cultural heritage of the Swazi and Southern African peoples;

(b) to document all specimens and objects collected;

(c) to conserve and preserve using the best means possible all items in the collection;

(d) to exhibit for public information, materials in its collection;

(e) to serve as an informal education forum for school groups, refugee camps and adult education centres.


The Museum was build in 1972. Two small rooms house the exhibition area. In 1986 a storage room, workshop, photography dark room and a temporary exhibition area was constructed. This area completes the ethnography section. In 1990, Government approved and funded the construction of the showroom and natural history wing. The showroom houses three royal cars used by King Sobhuza II.

Ethnography Section

(This section includes the Mantenga Cultural Village)

Museum Library

A collection of Swazi historical books and printed matter for research purposes is housed in the library.

Education Programme

The museum conducts an education outreach programme for schools, refugee camps and adult education centres (Sebenta).


A photography section with a dark room for processing films of various aspects of traditional life, ceremonies and natural heritage exists at the museum. Photographs of prehistoric material are also conserved here.

Mobile Museum

Our museum is aware of the fact that not every Swazi can visit the museum, so, to cater for such peple, the Mobile Museum takes the collections to rural areas to visit primary and secondary schools.

Radio Program

The radio program, aired once a month, gives information on the functions of the museum, and what it has to offer.

Temporary Exhibitions

Temporary exhibitions are put together, both for display in the museum, and for touring, where they are shown in many African countries.

International Museum Day

Every year, on the 18th of May, International Museums Day is celebrated, with a theme being selected each year.

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Natural History Wing

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