Plans to construct first underwater museum in sub-Sahara Africa is set to begin in Kenya, National Museums of Kenya (NMK) coast region assistant director for sites and monuments, Mr Athman Hussein Athman, has announced.
Athman was speaking during a workshop, sponsored by Unesco, the National Museums of Kenya and the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Arts in Mombasa.
The museum will be constructed at the site of a shipwreck at Ngomeni, a historical fishing village in the north coast. It will be Africa’s educational centre for underwater archaeology.
“The government of Kenya, through the NMK, has started to develop the Ngomeni shipwreck site into an underwater museum, the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa,” Athman said.
He said underwater museums have become major tourist attractions in other countries.
The project will be boosted by the discovery of several shipwrecks in Kenyan waters, Mr Athman said.
Atham said that studies have revealed that the shipwrecks were highly could be used for for scientific research and as tourist attractions.
The objective, Said Athman was to build capacity for African countries to effectively manage their underwater cultural heritage.
The participants, who are archaeologists, have been undergoing rigorous practical sessions that include diving at the 17th Century Santa Antonio De Tanna Shipwreck in front of Fort Jesus Museum.
Unesco representative Arturo Rey Da Silva told the workshop that his organisation would work with the Kenyan government to train experts that will boost the sector as it had huge tourism potential.
Unesco says it is keen to be a major partner in the initiative- first museum in sub-Sahara Africa.