The oldest museum in France specifically dedicated to Africa, the African Museum of Lyon (Musée Africain) was founded in 1863 by the Société des Missions Africaines as a place for missionaries to send African items of interest back to France. The huge collection of artifacts includes items such as ritual masks, statues and musical instruments from diverse cultural groups like the Dogon of Mali and Ashanti of Ghana. The museum has been curated into exhibits based on three categories: Everyday Life, Social Life and Religious Life. The focus on West African culture makes for an interesting introduction to anyone interested in the region.
With 1.53 square miles (750 square meters) of museum space on three levels and more than 2,000 African objects on display, the museum provides a lot to see. There is also an exhibition room for original temporary exhibits, both ancient and contemporary. When you visit, make sure to look out for the regular creative workshops for kids and adults.