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The success story of mountain gorilla conservation and protection began way back in 1967. Dian Fossey museum (Karisoke Research Center) is a typical example of living memory of the Dian Fossey, an enthusiastic primatologist, conservationist and environmentalist.

Dian Fossey museum is 2 and half hours’ drive from the heart of Kigali. The museum is built in Musanze, Northwestern Rwanda. The museum offers an insight into Rwanda’s mountain gorilla conservation and protection success story. It is also referred to as the Karisoke Exhibit, a perfect area where enthusiastic primate travelers can get facts about the success story of gorilla protection and conservation.

Dian Fossey museum was founded by Karisoke Research Center. This research center was initially operated by Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. The research center & gorilla fund were founded in remembrance of Dian Fossey. The museum offers interactive look at gorilla conservation and she established the research center to help


The Dian Fossey museum is found in Musanze, just outside Volcanoes National Park Rwanda. This gorilla museum, there are several photographs, historic objects, information and various interactive activities about mountain gorilla conservation and protection.

The exhibit center is one area you should consider a must-visit after or before gorilla trekking. It was founded to help extend Dian Fossey Fund conservation and education initiatives to students and communities adjacent to the park.

What is found in the Dian Fossey museum/Karisoke Exhibit?

The Karisoke Exhibit is comprised of 7 sections:- the section for gorillas (overview, life history and behavior of mountain gorillas; Dian Fossey and the history of Karisoke; Virunga Mountains, Biodiversity, Conservation and challenges, working with local communities and others.

The exhibit areas feature panels and posters with detailed information and pictures. It is a perfect place to explore more about gorillas in details. The Dian Fossey room has original artifacts of Dian Fossey cabin and different pictures. The actual snares also exist here while the biodiversity section has bushbuck, buffalo and duiker skulls plus an elephant jaw.

There is also the most high-tech part of the Karisoke Exhibit features “Virtual Virunga” and was constructed in  conjunction with the center for GIS and Imagine Lab. The exhibit center can be visited from Monday to Friday starting at 2 to 4pm. There are experienced guides to lead you throughout your exploration at the center.

Karisoke Research Center

The Karisoke Research Center has existed for more than 50 years. It was founded by Dian Fossey mainly to help her in conservation/research activities. Dian Fossey began researching about mountain gorillas in 1967 and she spent 18 years studying mountain gorillas. Currently, the research center operates even in the Congo side, especially helping save the Eastern lowland gorillas.

The Dian Fossey Fund facilitates conservation activities in Rwanda and Congo. The Dian Fossey Fund also focuses on protection of gorillas and its team works together with government agencies; training the future scientists through partnerships with the University of Rwanda. It also helps the local communities so as to enhance their livelihoods.

Dian Fossey tomb site

Dian Fossey was mysterious murdered and her body was laid to rest at the Karisoke Research Center. She lies in the burial ground where other gorillas were buried including Digit, the silverback gorilla she so much fell in love with; Uncle Bert, Kweli, Effie, and Macho.