Skip to content Skip to footer

The Museum of Human Sciences, formerly known as Queen Victoria Museum was opened in 1903.Then it was a museum and public library built in tribute to the Queen of England. The first sixty years of its existence saw the museum shifting its location three times. The present museum, located in the Civic Centre of the capital city of Zimbabwe, Harare, was opened in 1964.
Zimbabwe Museum of Human Sciences

Over the years the museum’s focus has undergone substantial metamorphosis. Prior to the country’s attainment of political independence from Britain in 1980, Natural History dominated the museum’s research focus particularly in the areas of paleontology, mammology, ornithology and ichthyology. 

Prehistory and ethnology played second fiddle, nevertheless extensive work was done in rock art documentation as well as maintenance of National Monuments. The latter was the primary responsibility of the Historical Monuments Commission before its amalgamation with National Museum in October 1972.Although history constituted an important section of the museum’s network, its research emphasis and presentation were mainly to further the colonial legacy in Zimbabwe.

At independence in 1980, National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ), an organization born in 1972 to manage all national museums and Monuments in the country, adopted a policy of decentralization. The move was to promote efficiency in operations and facilitate quick delivery of services to the once marginalized majority of Zimbabweans. The five major national museums, evenly distributed in the country, became epicenter of museum work in the five regions that cater for the entire country. Within this framework the museum in the capital city was tasked with the responsibility for satisfying the national needs in the area of human sciences. Consequently archeology and ethnography asserted themselves as the main research disciplines at this museum. To date the thrust of the museum has been Stone Age and Iron Age studies, studies of the culture and history of the people of Zimbabwe, rock art and the preservation of historical Monuments.

The museum’s long experience in collecting, researching, presenting and exhibiting which spans for almost one hundred years gives the museum of Human Sciences a strong foundation upon which it continues to score more success today and in future. The strength that ZMHS has always thrived on is that everyone connected with it realizes that a Museum is a living thing, which must grow but nevertheless must be dyanmic and respond to changing social conditions.