- He owns a museum of old technology that he has created mostly for children.
- The Apollo children’s science pack, as he named it, has very old cameras, TV sets, computers, and telephones dating back from 1912.
Not everyone’s pulse will quicken with a glimpse of a red telephone booth or a television set with a red backside. When I walk into David Kimani’s home, about four kilometres from Limuru town, at Kamirithu, I stare at the old equipment with fondness.
He owns a museum of old technology that he has created mostly for children. The Apollo children’s science pack, as he named it, has very old cameras, TV sets, computers, and telephones dating back from 1912.
He also has gadgets from meteorological departments that remind you of a bygone era.
Six years ago, the former primary school teacher established the science center. He estimates to have spent Sh20 million, over many years.
“For the last 20 years, I have been doing out-of-class programmes visiting art centres and museums. I realised that we don’t have a science park in Kenya where learners can visit and understand the evolution of technology and learn history from observation,” says Mr Kimani.
He started by collecting the oldest camera, the speed graphic camera manufactured in 1912. Now the park has all generations of cameras, including a Brownie camera, film camera to the current digital cameras.
“There is a lot that we are teaching in schools but learners are not able to see and experience what they are learning,” says Mr Kimani.
For TVs, Mr Kimani has the oldest set in the country dating back from the 1960s, to the latest flat screen now selling in the market. In Kenya, the first television was introduced in 1962. At the time, there were only black and white TV sets.
His large wood-protected TV set is the show-stopper.
Mr Kimani’s science park also houses a generation of radio stations from the oldest to the current FM radios. The first radio transmission in Kenya started in 1927 airing the East Africa Broadcasting Corporation (EABC).
“The radio relayed BBC news to the colonies. The broadcasts at the time, targeted the colonies who monitored news from their homes and other parts of the country,” says Mr Kimani.
His collection of computers include the first-ever computer to the current desktop computer.
His centre has attracted primary and secondary school learners interested in studying information technology and computer science.
Mr Kimani has also a section with a collection of old typewriters, printers, telephones, grammerphones, and the oldest blender.
At the far end, is the oldest car used during colonial times, and an aeroplane.
The stone section shows just how many types have been recorded in Geography books. He has mineral and volcanic rocks collected from different parts of the country; coal, formica rocks, copper, gemstones, graphite, fluorspar , coral, cherry, rubies, to molten lava which students can study.
In Geography classes, Mr Kimani says, students are taught about volcanic eruptions but they never get an opportunity to visit the Great Rift Valley to see the rocks.
“This centre gives learners the knowledge they are unable to get in schools. Learners are free to visit during holidays, weekends, and during school field trips,” he said.
Down in the open field, he has set up a meteorological air space to measure, wind and weather.
The meteoric space has wind vanes, rain gauge, wind speed meter among their equipment.
He has also planted cash crops in a small section such as sisal, coffee, tea and cotton, also learners studying agriculture.
“This is a rich centre for learners especially now that the government is rolling out the competency-based curriculum,” he says.