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Published: March 9th 2010
Ned and I went to the Jimma Museum on the weekend, my companion didn’t feel well. The Americans said that if you have zero expectations, you would be pleased with museum. I had my student ID and got in for Birr 3 instead of the usual Birr 25 for foreigners. They advertised photos for Birr 5, but the guy said “no” for some reason?
The guy/curator said there wasn’t an English tour, which we were cool with. Two Jimma University students were there and we all went in together. The curator gave the students a tour and we sort of tagged along and conversed using broken English and acting out our perceived uses for some questionable objects.
Like the Americans said, if you have zero expectations, it’s a pretty good museum. The first room had a bunch of furniture from Abba Jiffar’s Palace…they should’ve kept that stuff up at his palace so there would be more to see at his empty and boring palace. Jiffar was a pretty big dude. Also in that room was a throne of Haille Sallasie that he evidently used once. It was pretty swanky. The next room had some small objects like cups, incense holders, etc. After that room was the armory. Some round shields were hanging on the wall and guns and swords lined the walls. It was kind of hands on, so I went for the swords and Ned went for the guns. The next room had a lot of cultural items like clothing, and musical instruments that you could try out. There was an almost storage type room with a lot of handicraft items, like baskets, gourds, injera holders, some quite impressive. The final room had stuffed animals that once inhabited the region. One animal was labeled a Leopard and an animal right next to it, that looked identical to the Leopard, was identified as a Tiger. We weren’t buying it. Tigers have strips, not spots.
The curator really helped the experience. He was animated and acted out what things were used for. We would joke around with him. He was very jovial and happy to show people the museum’s items. You could touch most items, and the ones that were behind glass were not locked and generally open for wandering hands. We joked around saying, “do you like that? We can just come back later tonight and break in and take it no problem.” I would definitely recommend the museum; don’t have high expectations, and you’ll be pleased.
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