Yoruba Culture and History Centre: an African museum experience 

The Nigerian city of Lagos has a museum that symbolises the multiplicity of identities and at the same time is a space that makes visible a way of thinking and building based on local culture and habits.

Far from Western museums habits, the John Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture and History, which was inaugurated in 2023 but will open with various activities in 2024, was conceived within the lifestyle of the great Nigerian metropolis, amidst the hustle and bustle of the markets and cultural diversity of the Marina and Onikan region.

The space is described as a major development in the African museum experience. It is designed to celebrate Yoruba culture and heritage – past, present and future. 

The exterior walls of the Yoruba centre, which has 1,000 m² of exhibition space, are made of concrete and finished in earth-coloured pigments that recall the mud features of ancient Yoruba settlements. The golden latticework is a reference to the handicrafts of the Yoruba people.

For almost 90 years, the John Randle Centre in Onikan Lagos was an important civic facility that served as a venue for swimming, recreation and entertainment. In its new, more museum-like format, the Centre houses diverse facilities, a dynamic and world-class permanent exhibition on Yoruba history, traditions and future direction. A library with vast physical and digital collection capabilities, areas for large events, green space linked to a market and a public swimming pool.

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