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A new gallery of Paleontology and prehistory was inaugurated at the National Museum on December 3, in the presence of the State Ministers of Culture and Tourism and the diplomatic community.
The inaugural event also marked the 40th year of the discovery of Dinknesh (Lucy) and one of her discoverers, Maurice Taieb, was there. Yonas Desta, Director General of the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage (ARCCH), said the French Embassy and ARCCHI jointly financed the new permanent exhibition.
“All this is a clear manifestation of the diplomatic solidarity between Ethiopia and France. It is the fruit of over a hundred years of firm diplomatic relations,” Yonas said.
The new exhibition that covers more than 360 square meters is expected to become the main attraction of the National Museum. It features numerous displays of fossils and artifacts including original specimens and replicas and traces the major steps of human evolution and prehistory.
“Ethiopia is the cradle of mankind. When we say we are the cradle of mankind, it is not only words but based on tangible and observable facts at hand. Today among the 14 discoveries all over the world that manifests human evolution, 12, which accounts for 86 percent, were found in Ethiopia only,” Yonas stated.
He further said that the renovated exhibition is very important and will provide multifaceted services such as displaying additional fossil discoveries; as there is now bigger space than before. It will also attract and educate many local and international tourists and come in handy for researchers.
State Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mulugeta Seid who officially opened the exhibition, said that the National Museum of Ethiopia is trying its best to preserve the great wealth of humanity for the entire world.
“As part of the Growth and Transformation Plan, cultural institutions and museums are blooming in every corner of the country and that shows us how vital our culture is. The National Museum, as it has a big responsibility in assisting the emerging museums in the country, has to be capacitated in order to become a model for others. It is expected to be well organized and well equipped with the necessary human resources and knowledge,” the State Minister said.
The new gallery of Paleontology and prehistory was financed with a 1.5 million Birr grant through the French Embassy and the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage. The French Center for Ethiopian Studies played a major role in the realization of the gallery.