German Post Office
By Maina Kiarie
The German Post Office Museum is located in Lamu old town, Lamu district in Coast Province. The museum was opened in December 1996.
The building which houses the German Post Office Museum was built at the beginning of the 19th century as a private residence. It was converted and used, albeit briefly, as the first German Post Office on the East African Coast during the time when Witu – on the mainland south of Lamu – was a German Protectorate. The Post Office was established on November 22, 1888 by the Germans led by Clement Denhardt. While in operation communications and trade contracts for the German Protectorate in Witu were served through Lamu. The Post Office operated for more than two years before its closure on March 3, 1891 after the withdrawal of the German settlement in Witu.
The building was acquired by the National Museums of Kenya in 1993 at which time rehabilitation and restoration work started with assistance from the German Embassy.
The museum shows the long historical contracts between Germany and Kenya, and is unique in depicting early industrial development in the form of communication through postal services. It shed light on a little known period in Kenyan history, yet one that was very significant. The museum exhibits photographs and memorabilia from that period of colonial history on the East African Coast.