AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

The National Museums of Kenya is Building an AWS Cloud-based Digital Archives Platform

The National Museums of Kenya (NMK) currently hosts one of the largest records of human cultural evolution in the world. With a mission to collect, preserve, study, document, and present Kenya’s cultural and natural heritage, NMK needed to find a way to digitize its artifacts and open up its collection to engage the world for exploration and research.

Digital Divide Data (DDD), a nonprofit specializing in digitization, data sciences, and social research services, along with AWS and Intel will work with NMK to digitize one of the largest collections of Archeology and Paleontology in the world, as well as create an interactive website that will serve as a virtual museum, giving more people access to these.

As the first phase of the project, DDD, AWS, and Intel will digitize 10,000 of the most valuable artifacts housed in their Archeology and Paleontology collections at the Nairobi National Museum.  These will form the basis for open access digital archives database and a virtual museum intended to lend greater visibility to these priceless artifacts for the purposes of research and education.

The Archaeology Collection includes early human’s technology and technological evolution dating back >2.5 million years. The Paleontology Collection houses millions of fossils dating back to the Oligocene era (33 – 23 million years). This collection includes the entire natural fossil heritage of Kenya and houses some of the best preserved hominid specimens.

This project will enable NMK to achieve the following objectives:

  • Mitigating the risk of losing valuable information and records related to many of these premier artifacts and specimens due to decay and passage of time through digital preservation.
  • Facilitating research on human evolution using the digital archive and database as a catalyst in training the next generation of researchers.
  • With a central digital repository of collections, the museum will have the information available to curate and develop new exhibits.
  • These assets will enable the museum to engage digitally with other institutions around the world.

Technology is critical to develop the next generation of approaches to collecting, managing, preserving, and engaging with cultural assets. AWS and Intel are committed to collaborate with custodians and caretakers working within our beloved cultural institutions to create new, dynamic museum experiences that drive individuals around the world to engage with history and the arts.