The Zimbabwe Museum of Human Sciences, formerly the Queen Victoria Museum is a museum in Harare, Zimbabwe. The museum contains the seven-hundred-year-old Lemba artefact ngoma lungundu, which some believe to be an replica of the Ark of the Covenant. It is the oldest wooden object ever found in sub-Saharan Africa.

See National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe.

History

Originally opened in 1903 and called the Queen Victoria Museum, it mainly focuses on archaeology and ethnography.

The opening section explores the role of spirit mediums, particularly their role during the First Chimurenga (1896-7); although only the roles of Mbuya Nehanda medium, Charwe and Sekuru Kaguvi are dealt with in any detail and there is no mention of spirit mediums in Matabeland. The display focuses on the Mazowe valley, possibly because this was Charwe’s stronghold, but it would be more interesting to expand this display to other sacred sites tied to political and historical events and rain-making ceremonies.

A large area is devoted to human evolution with examples of tool making from the earliest times in the Stone Age with good assemblages of tools; rock art is displayed through the copies of Elizabeth Goodall and three-dimensional life-size models of San hunter-gatherers. The Iron Age is dealt with in some detail showing the progressive development from early agriculture to the development of iron and copper smelting and production of hoes and arrowheads and with increasing wealth the development of external trade with Swahili merchants and the barter of cotton goods and beads for fine gold.

Why Visit

To gain a good understanding of the archaeology of Zimbabwe through from the Stone Age into the Iron Age. The displays are helpful, although the lighting could be improved. Provides a helpful and informative historical introduction to Zimbabwe for visitors, although the displays are rather static and eventually the experience becomes tiring, especially as there is nowhere to sit throughout all the galleries. It would be useful to have an introduction or overview on film, or using other media.