Livingstone’s Museums: A Treasure Trove for Discovery
Museums inspire and nurture a love for knowledge. Visitors are exposed to in-depth information and visual displays about the world around them. Every year on May 18th, we come together to celebrate International Museum Day, with Livingstone being one of the 158 countries that takes part in the festivities.
At Destination Livingstone, we highly recommend that every visitor, young or old, Zambian or International, plans for a trip to the museums in Livingstone. There is so much to dazzle the senses and enrich the mind as Livingstone’s museums are a treasure trove for discovery.
The Livingstone Museum
Location: In the centre of Livingstone’s business district
Entrance Fee: $5 for adults and $3 for children for international guests
K10 for adult Zambian residents and K5 for Zambian child residents
Opening Times: 9 am-4 pm daily including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day
The Livingstone Museum should be on everyone’s bucket list for Livingstone. Initially opened in 1934 in a building that no longer exists, the museum found its now permanent home in 1950. The large cream-coloured building has a distinctive clock tower and has become a marker for giving directions to anyone in Livingstone’s central business district.
The Livingstone Museum could be considered reminiscent of a bygone era as you won’t find televisions, tablets or touch screen displays. However, you will find a treasure trove of relics and information that will dazzle those young and old. Give yourself time to meander through the exhibition halls, and you won’t be disappointed.
Exhibitions include prehistory/archaeology, ethnography and art, history and natural history. There is also an extensive special exhibition dedicated to David Livingstone and his travels. Children will be awed by the life-size model villages and 3D map of the Victoria Falls area found in the museum’s foyer. The Forest of Faces sculpture garden is located only a few minutes walk away in the Civic Centre’s garden.
Please enquire about the option of a complimentary tour guide to show you around the Livingstone Museum.
The Railway Museum and The Gateway Jewish Museum
Location: 726 Limulunga Road (about 2. 5km from the town centre)
Entrance Fee: $15 for adults and $7.50 for children for international guests
K8 for adult Zambian residents and K4 for Zambian child residents
Opening Times: 8:30 am-4:30 pm except for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day
The Railway Museum
The history of the Victoria Falls area and the construction of the engineering marvel of the Victoria Falls Bridge is intrinsically linked to the railways. In fact, the advancement of Great Britain’s control into present-day Zambia was largely down to Cecil Rhodes and his plan to build a Cape-to-Cairo Railroad.
Declared a National Monument in 1976, the site of the Railway Museum was owned initially by Zambezi Saw Mills. From 1936, steam locomotives were repaired and held here. Today, some of the oldest locomotive engines in the world are preserved at this location for all to visit. There are display rooms that give insight into the original routes taken and types of timber exported.
Railway buffs and young children will jump with visible glee at being able to enter the actual coaches and get pictures of them pretending to travel in a bygone era. Sit back and enjoy the plush leather seats and dark, teak wood panelling inside the first-class carriages that originally held rich and famous travellers on Rhodesian Railways. Locomotive engines dating back to the early 20th century are also on display.
The Gateway Jewish Museum
The Gateway Jewish Museum is located within the same site as the Railway Museum, so the one entry fee allows you to visit both places. Established in 2014, the Jewish Museum is a well-curated exhibition of the small but impactful Jewish community that first came to Zambia in the late 19th century. Many of the early Jewish settlers were from Lithuania; however, during the Holocaust, Northern Rhodesia (present-day Zambia) welcomed Jewish people with open arms, unlike many neighboring countries.
The Jewish Museum boasts informative displays that are overflowing with information and visuals. Tourists will likely have seen the clock tower at the Livingstone Museum, a landmark for the town. This was donated by one of the earliest Jewish settling families, the Sussman, to commemorate their fiftieth year of being in the area.
Zambia and Zambians are proud of their history and relish the opportunity to showcase their destination to visitors from around the world.