Tuesday September 12, 2023
The Khayrhaye Somali Cultural Museum is thought to be the 1st of its kind in Canada
The Somali Cultural Museum's collection includes decorations and furniture, dishes and musical instruments.
may have been six years in the making, but the creator of a new Ottawa
museum highlighting Somali culture says it was time well-spent. Moussa
said she was inspired to open the museum to share Somali culture with
the community and help people learn more about the country and its
Kaltoun Moussa is the driving force behind the Khayrhaye Somali Cultural Museum, thought to be the first of its kind in Canada.
"Our culture is very beautiful and valuable. And I want to teach our youth and to show the other cultures," she said.
Many Somali-Canadians who weren't raised in Somalia have questions about their own heritage, Moussa added.
don't know anything about it," she said, noting the museum is a place
where people who want to know more can see it for themselves.
Traditional home on display
located out of the Rideau Community Hub on St. Laurent Boulevard, the
museum features several artifacts from Somalia including baskets,
furniture and musical instruments. Osman said the museum offers a chance to showcase cultural aspects of east Africa to the nation's capital.
Moussa has been collecting
them since she came up with the idea for the museum, storing them around
her house and in her basement.
"These were my roommates for six years," said Hersi Osman, one of Moussa's sons.
star of the exhibit is the aqal Somali, a full-sized traditional house
used by Somali nomads and made out of trees, animal skin and twine.
house was first built overseas, then disassembled and shipped to
Ottawa. Osman helped rebuild it inside the centre, following a
step-by-step video over about a week.
He said people who've visited the museum so far are blown away when they see it.
first thing they say is, 'How did you fit this in here?' So they
thought that we just walked the whole thing through the door, but it was
piece by piece," he said.
Supporting his mother's work on the museum has even helped him better connect with his culture, he said.
going to be a learning process for me, especially since I've only been
back home once. It's important not to lose your language, your culture
and where you're from," Osman said.
The museum is open Monday,
Thursday and Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. It only just had its grand
opening on Aug. 31, but Moussa said the community's response has already
been overwhelmingly positive.
"I can't believe it. I was very happy," Moussa said.
"You can come, you can learn, you can see this. I'm inviting you, come on down," she added in Somali.