If everything goes according to plan, Lake Turkana in Kenya's Great Rift Valley will soon be home to the Ngaren Museum of Humankind. The Rift Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is also home to Turkana Boy, the most complete skeleton ever found of early man.
Dr. Richard Leakey, a paleoanthropologist who discovered Turkana Boy, commissioned Ngaren in celebration of our ancestry. The museum's edifice will be constructed to resemble the early stone tools used by ancient man and is set to be designed by Daniel Libeskind's firm, Studio Libeskind, who previously redesigned the New York City World Trade Center and several other iconic buildings all over the world.
Leakey and Libeskind traveled to Kenya together so that Libeskind could get a first look at Leakey's vision.
"I took Libeskind up to Turkana and had him see the place and listen to me chat, after which I asked, 'can we do something here that will absolutely stand-alone and wow?'" Leakey told The Independent. Libeskind's response was an "immediate" yes.
Ngaren will house artifacts such as plant and animal fossils and findings such as primitive tool remnants, but Leakey is interested in creating a contemporary experience for visitors.
"Maybe we don't want to exhibit the original [fossils] at all. Why don't we have a room you come in to wearing a 3D headset and sit quietly in the middle of a band of Homo erectus moving all around you? That's much more interesting than a skeleton of Turkana Boy behind glass," Leakey shared with The Independent.
Leakey created an online campaign to secure funds for Ngaren which-as of publication-has raised $4.06 million of its $7 million goal. The team working on Ngaren hopes to break ground in 2022 and settle on an opening date sometime in 2024, although it is unclear whether the project will move forward or not if funding efforts don't fulfill the $7 million goal.
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