The Peace Memorial Museum (Beit el Amani) was designed by the British architect J H Sinclair, who also designed the high court, the British residency and several other public buildings around Zanzibar town. The beautiful spherical design of the National Museum acknowledges Zanzibar’s Arab influence and is reminiscent of the eastern architecture of Istanbul and India. It is a great place to discover the intriguing history and culture of the islands. The Peace Memorial Museum contains exhibits and records which make up the rich history of Zanzibar, from the early days of the Omani Sultans and the British colonial period right up until independence. This magnificent structure houses old and new history books, a selection of archaeological findings, plus records of early trade, slavery, palaces, mosques, sultans, explorers and missionaries, in addition to exhibits of traditional crafts, stamps and coins.
Located on Creek Road near the intersection of Kuanda Road and designed by the same architect who designed the High Court, J. H. Sinclair, the National Museum is home to many of Zanzibar’s memorabilia including, most notably, Livingstone’s medical chest. Also on display are a piece of Zanzibar’s (and East Africa’s first) railroad, and an old, palm oil-powered bicycle lamp. For history buffs it’s a great place to read up on Zanzibar’s history as it relates to everything from slavery, the royal families, coins, stamps, local crafts, trade and the many and varied colonial years.