The Karen Blixen Museum is located 20minutes drive from Kenya’s capital city Nairobi in Karen. It was build in 1912 and became home to the famous poet, actor and artist Darnish Author Karen Blixen who gained fame for her great movie “Out of Africa” based on her autobiography. Karen lived in the house between 1914 and 1931 when she left after personal tragedies. The lovely colonial farmhouse was established as a museum in 1986 by the National Museums of Kenya.
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 government set up a college of nutrition and the Museum was initially used as the principal’s house. In 1985 the shooting of a movie based on Karen’s autobiography began and the National Museums of Kenya expressed acquired the house for the purpose of establishing a Museum. The Museum was opened in 1986.
The house and surrounding land was donated by the Danish government to Kenya at independence; the house was restored by the Danish government and was used during the filming of Out of Africa, which immortalized Karen Blixen’s book by the same name. The Museum was opened to the public in 1986.
Much of the original furniture is on display in the house, and combined with the beautifully landscaped gardens and encompassing view of the Ngong Hills, the Museum has continued to a be very popular destination for international and local visitors.
The original kitchen has been restored and is now open for viewing. A Dove Stove similar to the one used by Blixen is on display, as are other period kitchen utensils. Reconstruction of the coffee factory as an additional attraction is underway and other early farm machinery is also on display, depicting the early settler life in Kenya.