IIP is an international research and database project that investigates a corpus of Kenyan objects held in cultural institutions across the globe.

The IIP project formalizes the research and learning collaboration between:

The National Museums of Kenya (Kenya), a multi-disciplinary state corporation whose role is to collect, preserve, study, document and present Kenya’s past and present cultural and natural heritage. Participating members: Mr. Juma Ondeng’ (Coordinator of Public Programs), Ms. Lydia Nafula (Research Scientist), Mr. Philemon Nyamanga (Research Scientist).

The Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum (RJM) in Cologne.
Participating members: Clara Himmelheber, the curator for Africa

The Weltkulturen Museum in Frankfurt.

SHIFT Collective (France / Germany), a collective of creative practitioners engaged in speculative imaginations about the cultural ebb and flow between the African continent and beyond. Participating members: Mr. Sam Hopkins (Artist), Dr. Marian Nur Goni (Researcher), Mr. Simon Rittmeier (Artist).

The Nest Collective (Kenya) - a Nairobi-based multi-disciplinary arts collective working with film, fashion, music and visual arts projects that explore Kenyan identities. Participating members: Mr. Jim Chuchu (Director), Dr. Njoki Ngumi (Head of Learning and Development).

The International Inventories Programme is funded by the Goethe-Institut e.V. Excellence Initiative. The Invisible Inventories exhibition project is funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation.



Historical and contemporary acquisition and custody of cultural artifacts and objects from Kenya by global cultural institutions has created cultural knowledge gaps in the Kenyan public as well as academics due to, among other factors, the inaccessibility of said objects.

Further to the inaccessibility of the objects, there is scattered knowledge as to the existence and extent of Kenyan cultural collections abroad. Of the known collections, it is noted that some of these inventories sometimes lack information or contain data errors with regards to acquisition modalities, provenance, context and purpose of the objects. Due to lack of a sharing framework between institutions, researchers and collectors, these data errors perpetuate misrepresentation and mis-attribution of these cultural objects.

The aim of the IIP project is to:

  • Build exchange relations and strengthen collaboration and cooperation between NMK and key cultural institutions and collectors who possess and hold in custody Kenyan objects as part of their collections,

  • Generate a comprehensive inventory of Kenyan artifacts and cultural objects held in public institutions abroad

  • Exchange knowledge and information which will help to properly identify, label, store and display said objects

Read the IIP concept paper


International Inventories Programme
c/o the Cultural Heritage Department
National Museums of Kenya Corporate Headquarters
Museum Hill
P. O. Box 40658 - 00100
Nairobi, Kenya.

Tel: +254-20-8164134