BRIEF ON GIDAN MAKAMA MUSEUM, KANO
Gidan Makama Museum is one of the thirty-two Museums under
the National Commission for Museums and Monuments of the Federal
republic of Nigeria. It is located in the heart of Kano Old
City, opposite the Emirs Palace.
Gidan Makama (Makamas House) is both a National Monument
and a Museum. It is known for its traditional architectural
excellence. It has superb historical and ethnographic collections
on Kanawa civilization and Hausa land in general.
Gidan Makama was built in the 15th Century A.D by Emir Abdullahi
Burja as residential complex for Rumfa his grandson. Prince
Rumfa was later appointed the Makaman Kano, Heir Apparent
to the Emir. This explains why the house is referred to as
Gidan Makama, though some prefer to refer to the complex as
Gidan Rumfa. When Rumfa moved to his new Palace, the subsequent
Makamas continued to use the complex as their Official
residence a situation that more or less persists today.
The complex was split into three. The West most sectors houses
the Museum, while the central area is used by the Makama and
the east most area houses two educational Institutions.
THE MUSEUM FRONTAGE
Exhibition here are huge pots excavated by archeologist at
Kofar Kabuga. There are various explanations as to the use
of these pots. A tradition states that they were buried along
the city-walls by Kings of Kano for protection. Another version
states that the pots were kept underground for storage of
grains. Ethno-archaelogical research however suggests that
they could have been associated with cloth dying industry
for which Kano had been famous for several centuries.
Two cannons are exhibited at the entrance. They were abandoned
by the Colonial conquerors in Kano. They are believed to have
been part of the arsenals with which the British conquered
Kano in 1903. The canons were discovered at a Military barracks
at Bompai, Kano.
Gallery one: (Zaure)
Zaure is the main entrance of a typical Hausa building. Exhibited
in this gallery are items related to traditional architecture
materials like Makuba, Azara, Jakarsa Gashin jima etc. and
pictures of historical buildings in Kano. The original Gate
of Kofar Waika (one of the Kano City Gates) is also exhibited
here it has an inscription on it which is believed to be the
earliest public inscription on the door against the enemies
Gallery Two: (CITY WALLS AND EARLY MAPS OF KANO)
There is a small section on the archeology of Kano. There
are samples of archaeological findings of the Late Stone Age
and early Iron Age which gives a glimpse of populations living
and around the Dala hill at these periods. Another set of
displays here focuses on the evolution of Kano city as depicted
by the pattern of the city wall. The various maps by early
explorers and (2) Travelers though with varying degree of
accuracy gave interesting pictures of the expansion of Kano
City by the nineteenth century.
Gallery Three: HISTORY OF STATEHOOD
This gallery depicts the History of Kano City from its foundation
to the present day. Oral traditions documents the time of
Barbushe (A High Priest) and recounts how he set up the shrine
of Tsumburbura and also how he controlled several lesser priests.
It also gives the story of strangers to Kano land led by Bagauda
and how they imposed themselves on the heirs of Barbushe and
the subsequent conflicts they had. Symbols of Kingship and
defense are also showcased in the gallery.
Gallery Four: KANO IN THE 19th CENTURY
This focuses on the history of Kano in the 19th century.
There are illustrations, which depict the 19th century Jihad
of Usman Dan Fodio, which brought to an end the Habe ruling
dynasty in Kano, written by European travelers and explorers
like Henry Barth, Hugh Clapperton etc.
Gallery Five: KANO CIVIL WAR
The gallery tells the story of Kano civil war (BASASA) and
the British invasion of Kano in 1903. The appointment of Mohammadu
Tukur against all advice by Musulumi to succeed his father
Bello in 1883 as Emir was the main cause of the civil war.
Yusuf, his uncle was not happy and along with his brothers
declared war on the new Emir. Though, Yusuf died at Garko
his allies succeed in flushing Tukur from the palace. Later
Aliyu (Sarkin Kano Alu) as installed Emir. The colonial invasion
of Kano was sequel to the declaration of Northern Nigeria
as a protectorate by the British Government with Lugard as
Governor of Kano. When Kano refused to surrender, it was consequently
invaded. They broke through Kofar Kabuga and the Emir (Sarkin
Kano Alu) was sent to exile to Lokoja where he died. Abbas
was installed as Emir by the British Colonial Force.
Gallery Six : THE ECONOMY & DURBA
This contains the history of Kano economy from the last five
hundred years. Kano had been a center of commerce in Western
Sudan, which attracted traders from all over
the world. On display are pottery, textile, and calabash
carving of early industry.
Durba in Kano is well known. Durba as it called is a four-day
colourful event of spectacular parade of Horsemanship to mark
end of Ramadan fasting and 10th of DHUL-HIJJA. The Major events
are Hawan Edi, Hawan Daushe, Hawan Nassarawaand Hawan Panisau
and Hawan Dorayi. Durbar is also organised for visiting Heads
of States. It is almost certain in Kano that patriotism to
horsemanship is unspeakable to kingship and allegiance to
the kingship cannot be separated from the horsemanship.
Gallery Seven : THE ECONOMY
This gallery is about the consolidation of Colonial rule
and incorporation of Kano economy into the world capitalist
system. The introduction of the first railway line in 1911,
the commencement of western education, the provision of electricity
and pipe borne water are highlighted.
Gallery Eight : DAR-AL-ISLAM
As the name suggests, the gallery is all about Islamic heritage
of the Kanawa. On display is the information about the pillars
of Islam, astrology, copy of hand written Al-Quran, information
about the Maliki school of thought, etc.
Gallery Nine: INDUSTRY
This gallery contains the product of industry in Kano such
as textile, basketry, leatherwork, etc. The gallery depicts
the skillful nature of the Kanawas, the cottage
industries that produces the above mentioned products were
the backbone of Kano economy long before the arrival of the
colonial forces. The products help to define the role of men
and women while the design on them defines the status and
age grades in Hausa society
Gallery Ten: MUSIC
This gallery contains Kano Musical Instruments made up of
wood, vegetable fibres, aluminium, bowls and other materials.
The gallery contains ornaments, which are largely of metal
(bracelets, anklets), carving, stone bracelets and beads.
Gallery Eleven: THE MADOBI HUT
This gallery is about traditional Hausa female room. It showcases
their roles in the Hausa society. Exhibits in the room are
Tasa, Taskira, Tukurwa Bed, Calabashes stone etc.
This programme is provided to allow school children and their
teachers to go through an exploratory tour of Gidan Makama
Museum. Such schools on excursion are required to inform the
education unit in advance of their visit. This enables adequate
preparation for their reception.
The Museum organises debates for secondary and primary schools
in Kano metropolis once in a year. This debate comes up during
the International Museum Day (18th May). Interested schools
should contact the Education Unit, Gidan Makama Museum for
further information. Topics are drawn from all aspects of
Museum work and the Kanawa culture heritage. Prizes are awarded
to the winners.
SATURDAY ART CLUB
An Art Club is organized for children on Saturday within
the Museum premises. This programme is designed to help develop
the creativity in children using the Kanawa civilisation as
the context of this cultural expression. This programme caters
for children between the ages of six and eighteen. There is
provision for quarterly exhibition of the art products of
LONG HOLIDAYS EDUCATION PROGRAMME
During the long vacation children are engaged in various
cultural activities which allow them to express themselves
in various ways. Emphasis on transmitting the Nigerian Culture
heritage which they are made to imbibe and internationalized
by producing art work or participating in drama sketches and
also visiting the palace and centres of industrial productions
The museum organizes Sallah Fanfares for families to relax
during the Sallah celebrations.