Research Directorate Brief

The National Museums of Kenya is a multidisciplinary state corporation and centre of excellence in research, heritage conservation and management. Its research mandate is vested with the Directorate of National Repository and Research (DNRR) whose core function is to conduct research on the cultural and natural heritage as well as collecting and managing the national scientific reference collection. The beginnings of this directorate date back to the beginning of the twentieth century when early nature enthusiasts traversed east Africa in search of interesting collections that they deposited at the museum of the East Africa Natural History Society which was eventually acquired by the National Museums of Kenya.
The directorate undertakes research in a range of disciplines, including plant and animal sciences, ecology, ethnography, indigenous knowledge systems, cultural diversity, geology, palynology and archaeology and palaeontology. Over the years, this research has yielded interesting discoveries in cultural and natural history that have contributed immensely to scientific knowledge in biology, ecology and evolution of plants, animals including humans. Currently, has accumulated millions of reference collections in its repository.

To collect, preserve, study, document and present Kenya’s past and present cultural and natural heritage.
To be a centre of excellence in heritage management and research for the benefit of humanity

Core Functions of Directorate of National Repository & Research

  • Act as a repository for the country’s biological, cultural and historical materials
  • Spearheads research, documentation and conservation of modern and prehistoric flora and fauna as well as contemporary and modern cultural artefacts
  • Sharing information so collected and disseminating it locally and internationally
  • Providing resource materials to support researchers.
  • To achieve its functions, the Directorate is organized into six departments as outlined in the following sections

The EAH undertakes research in plant taxonomy, conservation & biodiversity assessment which is key in unveiling species status, natural resource management to inform, EIA, wildlife and forest management, water management, food security, human and environmental health in the advent of climate change.
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Department of Cultural Heritage is charged with the responsibilities of collecting and documenting Kenya`s cultural history, material culture and the process of change over the years. It also conducts research on relevant socio-cultural issues and disseminating these findings through publications, exhibitions, lectures and presentations. This research serves to enhance people`s knowledge by providing them with opportunities to engage with tangible aspects of their heritage. Read More..

The department of earth sciences is one the core research department of the National Museums of Kenya. It comprises of four sections namely Paleontology, Archaeology, Palynology/Paleobotany and Geology.
Our research is wide-ranging and cross-disciplinary in its themes, that ensure the adequate distribution of our support and resources. Through our responsive research activities, we work towards the long term convergence of related research programmes. Read More..

The role of the centre was to coordinate country biodiversity studies and direct its subsequent operations in consultation with relevant government agencies. Over the years, the centre has not only coordinated multi-disciplinary projects in Kenya, but has also been designated as a National Scientific Authority for various Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs). Read More..

the role of NMK’s Resource Centre is to preserve, disseminate and improve access to appropriate, relevant and timely information in support of the institution’s aims and objectives. Read More..

The role of the Department of Zoology is to conduct research on animals (including invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) through taxonomic and ecological studies. Read More..