Museums of Benin‎

Alexandre Sènou Adandé Ethnographic Museum

Alexandre Sènou Adandé Ethnographic Museum

The museum is in Porto-Novo, Benin and was established in 1957 by the Dahomey Institute. It is operated by Alexandre Sènou Adandé, a noted ethnologist, who was chief archivist and librarian at the Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire of Dakar from 1948 to 1960. The museum features wonderful Yoruba masks and King Toffa’s Palace gives you a taste of how African royalty lived.  Housed in a colonial mansion built in 1922, the museum’s rich collection of artifacts, including masks, statuettes, ritual objects, and armaments, illustrate the wide variety of cultures and traditions existing in Benin.

Musée da Silva des Arts et de la Culture

Musée da Silva des Arts et de la Culture

This eclectic museum is full of Afro-Brazilian artefacts housed in a beautiful 1870 Afro-Brazilian house. The museum was opened in 1998 in a building that is one of the most remarkable specimens of Afro-Brazilian architecture in Porto Novo. Built in 1890, this house belonged to a rich family of “Brazilians”. Rooms are furnished in the style of the time, old photos hang on the walls, and copies of the Petit Journal, a French magazine reporting on the highlights of colonization. Benin’s turbulent history is on display here, from its prosperous 17th century beginnings as the African Dahomey kingdom and 19th century invasion by the French to its 1960 independent Marxist regime and present-day democracy.

Musee Histsorique d’ Abomey

Musee Histsorique d’ Abomey

A World Heritage site since 1985, the Royal Palaces of Abomey are 12 palaces spread over an area of 40 hectares at the heart of the Abomey town in Benin, formerly the capital of the West African Kingdom of Dahomey. The museum displays royal thrones and tapestries, human skulls that were once used as musical instruments, fetish items and Ghézo’s throne, mounted on four real skulls of vanquished enemies.

  • Address: 01 BP 2205 Porto-Novo, Rue de l’inspection
  • Phone: +229 96 04 46 02
  • Website

Musée en Plein Air de Parakou

Musée en Plein Air de Parakou

The museum as of 2006 was in difficulty given that it lacks the funds and maintenance to allow it to fulfill its potential as a showcase. It is located approximately 1.5 kilometres south of the centre of the city Parakou, Benin in the suburbs. The museum consists of five circular complexes representing the traditional housing of the local people.

  • Address: Sinangourou BP:882, Parakou, Benin
  • Phone: +229 97 12 71 99
  • Website

Ouidah Museum of History

Ouidah Museum of History

The museum is located within the compound of the Portuguese Fort in Ouidah. The museum contains a wealth of objects and illustrations of historic and cultural significance, which together gives an intimate understanding of the region’s past. The museum’s collections are grouped into six major themes: the Portuguese Fort (in which the museum resides), the Kingdom of Xwéda , the Kingdom of Dahomey , the Slave Trade, Vodun, and the Cultural Links between Benin and the New World. The permanent collections depict the history and traditions of the region’s inhabitants. Beginning with artifacts from the old Portuguese Fort (in which the Museum of Ouidah is housed), the collections proceed to describe through objects, imagery, and artifacts the history of the kingdom of Xwéda and kingdom of Dahomey, both of which were dependent on the trade in enslaved individuals with Europeans for riches and power. Photos and artifacts portray the impact that people from Benin made on the cultures of New World societies, as well as the effects of mass repatriation to Benin after the decline of the slave trade. Finally, local religious tradition is characterized through many current religious items and photos from local ceremonies.

Royal Palace Museum (Porto-Novo)

Royal Palace Museum (Porto-Novo)

The Royal Palace, also known as King Toffa’s Palace and more recently Musée Honmé, is a former royal residence and today museum in Porto-Novo, Benin. It contains an example of an Alounloun and most displays are related to the King Toffa period. The palace and the surrounding district was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on October 31, 1996 in the Cultural category. A tour of the Royal Palace is like travelling back into Beninese history. The museum is well curated with a look at how royalty used to live in ancient Benin. Exhibits include artifacts from the Yoruba tribe embellished in masks, instruments, costumes and original photographs of the royal families from Porto Novo.

  • Address: CEG Akpassa, Porto-Novo, Benin
  • Phone: 229-20-21-35-66

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