The Kenya Museum Society was established to support and promote the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) with two primary mandates: to raise funds for the work of the museums and to train museum guides. KMS also runs the bookshop at the Nairobi Museum. Through public programmes such as the Arts Festival, proceeds from the bookshop and other projects and events, funds are raised to support the KMS grants programme.  Grants awarded to the National Museums in 2002 exceeded KSh 3 million.

History of the Kenya Museum Society (KMS)

Louis_LeakeyLouis Leakey was born in 1903 and grew up in Kabete, Nairobi. Forty-five years later he proclaimed to the world that the Horn of Africa was the cradle of mankind. Teaming up with like-minded enthusiasts Joel Ojai, Dr. Thomas Odhiambo and Professor Joseph Mungai, in 1955 Leakey formed the ‘Kenya Museum Associates’ to finance the group’s activities putting Kenya in the global spotlight of prehistory assets. In 1971 Louis’s son Richard Leakey formed the ‘Kenya Museum Society’, non-profit making organization for the purpose of supporting the programs and activities of the National Museums of Kenya (NMK).

Grants Programme

KMS awards grants to individuals and departments within the Museums in three priority areas:

  • Exhibits & Research – in recent years, KMS funds refurbished the Meru and Hyrax Hill regional museums, set up the new aquarium exhibit at Nairobi Museum, and renovated the historic Old Law Courts Building at Fort Jesus, Mombasa.  We also underwrite the cost of research and field trips, some recent examples being in the areas of palaeontology and ornithology.
  • Infrastructure – grants in this area have provided computers, printers and other equipment for many Museum departments.
  • Training – KMS has funded local and overseas training courses for NMK staff, and supported the PhD studies of deserving Museum researchers.