KAREN BLIXEN MUSEUM
Karen Blixen Museum was once the centre piece of a farm at the foot of the Ngong Hills owned by Danish Author Karen and her Swedish Husband, Baron Bror von Blixen Fincke. Located 10km from the city centre, the Museum belongs to a different time period in the history of Kenya. The farm house gained international fame with the release of the movie ‘Out of Africa’ an Oscar winning film based on Karen’s an autobiography by the same title.
The Museum is open to the Public every day (9.30 am to 6pm) including weekends and public holidays. Visitors are encouraged to be at the Museum by 5.30. Guided tours are offered continuously. A museum shop offers handicrafts, posters and postcards, the Movie ‘Out of Africa’, books and other Kenyan souvenirs. The grounds may be rented for wedding receptions, corporate functions and other events.
The Museum was built in 1912 by Swedish Engineer Ake Sjogren. Karen and her husband bought the Museum house in 1917 and it become the farm house for their 4500 acre farm, of which 600 acres was used for coffee farming. Their marriage failed after eight years and in 1921 the Baron moved on and left the running of the farm to Karen. Karen lived at the house until her return to Denmark in 1931. The house farm was bought by Remy Marin, who broke the land into 20 acre parcels for development. Subsequent development created the present suburb of Karen. Records indicate that a Lt. Col.G. Lloyd, an officer of the British Army bought the house in 1935 and lived there until his death in 1954, when it passed to his daughters, Mrs. G. Robersts and Lavender Llyod. A transfer of title to Mrs. J.P Robson and Mrs L.B. Hyde is in City Hall records in 1956. The house was sporadically occupied until purchased in 1964 by the Danish government and given to the Kenyan government as an independence gift.
The Karen Blixen house meets three of the customary criteria for historical significance. First, it is associated with the broad historical pattern of European settlement andcultivation of East Africa. Second, it is associated with the life of aperson significant to our past as the home of Baroness Karen Blixen from 1917 -1931. As such, it served as the setting and basis of herwell known book Out of Africa, written under the pseudonym Isak Dinesenand as a gathering place for other well known personalities of the period. Third, the building embodies the distinctive characteristicsof its type, period and method of construction. The house’s architecture is typical of late 19th century bungalow architecture,including the spacious rooms, horizontal layout verandas, tile roof and stone construction typical of scores of residences built throughout European suburbs of Nairobi in early decades.. KAREN BLIXEN