Ngaren celebrates the beginnings of all humanity. Dedicated to educating humankind on our shared past, Ngaren tells the story of our common ancestry, our epic journeys, and our future obligation to protect the planet that is our only home.

Located in the Rift Valley, Kenya, this is where the world will come face-to-face with the forces of change that brought about our existence – and imagine the changes needed to sustain it.

Breaking ground in 2022
Opening in 2026

Our founder

Dr. Richard E. Leakey is an award-winning Kenyan paleoanthropologist, conservationist, and politician. The son of renowned scientists Louis and Mary Leakey, he has held a number of official positions in Kenya, mostly in institutions of archaeology and wildlife conservation. Leakey has been Director of the National Museum of Kenya and head of the Kenyan Wildlife Service, and founded the NGO WildlifeDirect, as well as the Turkana Basin Institute – a research institution supporting scientific projects in human prehistory, sustainability, climate change, and modern human culture and diversity in Northern Kenya.

“I believe that if we can make the science of the origins of humanity accessible and exciting to everyone, and show people the amazing journey of humanity, we can shift paradigms and change the world.”

– Richard Leakey

Institutional Partner

The Naturalis Biodiversity Center of The Netherlands. A research institute for biodiversity with over 120 scientists, working on issues in the field of biodiversity on land and at sea worldwide: mapping species and their cohesion, the changing living environment and the influence of climate change. One of the largest natural history collections in the world, with over 42 million objects, Naturalis operates a national museum, consisting of 10 permanent exhibits. The museum reopened in 2019 after it was rebuilt and furnished from scratch.

Animation and
Special Effects

Weta Digital. Weta is the world’s premiere, award winning digital visual effects company based in Wellington, New Zealand founded by Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings), Richard Taylor, and Jamie Selkirk.
Weta Digital is partnering with Ngaren to help bring to life the narrative of Ngaren and develop new museum digital originals to create exhibitions and experiences that will change the way people think about the world.


Ngaren Highlights

• The only museum driven by the narrative of human origins and evolution, in the place where the human journey symbolically begins.

• The only all-digital Planetarium in Africa.

• A one and only immersive experience with our hominin ancestors, walking alongside Turkana Boy and others.

• The only African museum to host a permanent display of real-size African Dinosaurs.

• Innovation lab to create, teach, and promote science, sustainability, imagination, and equality.

• A world-class center created with innovative business and environmental sustainability values.

• A world-class center for training specialised staff for science storytelling and exhibition design.

• A think-tank for scientific literacy and discussion on human origins, evolution and diversity.

Board of directors

Richard E. Leakey, Founder

Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess of York

Andrea Frey, AJF Advisory

John Heminway, Documentary Filmmaker

Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor,
Director of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, Harvard University

Marta Mirazón Lahr, Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology,
University of Cambridge

Rachel Mbai, Attorney and Kenyan Advocate,
Kaplan and Stratton

Scott Miller, Deputy Under Secretary,
Smithsonian Institution

Ellen C. O'Connell, Chief Executive Officer

Tony Saxton, Founder and Managing Partner,
Terra Group Holdings

Annette L. Williamson, Board of Trustees,
Ngaren USA

Our team

Ellen C. O’Connell, Chief Executive Officer

Edwin van Huis, General Director Naturalis Biodiversity Center

Caroline Breunesse, Director of Exhibitions Naturalis
Biodiversity Center

Federica Crivellaro, Ngaren Head Scientist, Director of Advocacy and Partnerships
Palaeoanthropologist Turkana Basin Institute

José Joordens, Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology,
The University of Maastricht

Anne Schulp, Researcher at Naturalis and Professor of Vertebrate
Paleontology Utrecht University

Karin Boomsma, Kenyan Development and Liaison Officer

Otto Mruttu, Project Management for Building and Construction