A Visit to Manhyia Palace Museum
With the introduction of the International Primary Curriculum, the school is determined to tap into the power of field trips as a key component of instruction; they broaden the educational experience, make a subject more relevant and connect the dots for children. On Monday, 14th May 2018, our Year 5 and 6 students, staff and two parents visited the revered Manhyia Palace Museum in Kumasi to learn about the rich culture and history of the Ashanti Kingdom.
As part of efforts to beat the traffic and to return before dark, we left MKV at 7.00am prompt. On arrival in Manhyia, we were met by the chattering of peacocks; which drove nearly all the children to go looking for peacock feathers, and a very knowledgeable tour guide. The tour began at 11.30am with an informative video on the history, royalty and vibrant culture of the Ashanti people, their resistance to British rule as well as the Golden Stool as a symbol of Asante unity and continuity. Unfortunately, photography was not allowed inside the museum.
The palace was built by the British in 1925 to receive the Asantehene, Nana Prempeh I, when he returned from exile in the Seychelles to resume residence in Kumasi but the king insisted on paying for it before moving in. Ashanti kings resided here for about fifty years,before they moved into a new palace nearby. The palace was converted into a museum which was officially launched on 12th August 1995 by Otumfuo Opoku Ware II, the 15th King of Asante as part of activities marking the Silver Jubilee of his accession to the Golden Stool.
Thereafter, we travelled back in time as we were led through the office, library, living rooms and other parts of the palace where the last three kings lived. On display were royal regalia and paraphernalia such as sandals, palanquins, thrones, drums, gold ornaments, guns, kente cloth designs, Adinkra symbols, the Ashanti crest and medals conferred on Ashanti kings, among others. We had the opportunity to see a painting of the Golden Stool, the royal and divine throne of the Ashanti which was believed to have been conjured from the skies by the legendary Okomfo Anokye. The Golden Stool houses the soul of the Ashanti kingdom and is the ultimate symbol of power. We also saw the kings' crystal drinkware and gained insights into royal hospitality etiquette, the batter trade system and protocols for dispute resolution. Below is a photo of the current and 16th Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, mourning his mother, the late Nana Afia Serwaa Kobi Ampem, the 13th Queen Mother of the Ashanti Kingdom.
Photo Credit: Bob Pixel
There were life-size wax statues of Nana Prempeh I, Nana Otumfuo Opoku Ware II and their mothers as well as Nana Yaa Asantewa, the warrior Queen Mother of Ejisu, who led the 1900 revolt against the British. Some of the highlights of the tour were an electric ceiling fan and a refrigerator that were gifted from the 1920s all of which were still in good condition. There were also evocative photos of the kings over the years with various dignitaries including the Queen of England and the late Nelson Mandela.
All too soon, our tour came to an end and we were led to a small but well-stocked gift shop where we went souvenir shopping and taking photos. Our tour guide was excellent, went at our pace and satisfied our curiosity about the Ashanti people.
From Manhyia Palace, we made our way to the closest KFC and the lush and blooming Rattray Park for lunch. By 5.00pm, we were safely in MKV. We are grateful to Newmont Site Services for providing a driver for the trip, for staff who went on this adventure with us and to our parents, Mrs. Loreto Valenzuela and Mrs. Sophia Ako, for their relentless support. We could not have done it without you.