The Sudan National Museum, situated in Khartoum near the confluence of the two Niles, opened in 1971. Originally an archaeological museum constructed to house the numerous artifacts and monuments from Sudanese Nubba rescued during the 1960s UNESCO campaign, it now hosts one of the finest collections of antiquities in the world and it continues to grow as the result of an ever expanding program of archaeological fieldwork and new discoveries made by Sudanese and international scholars. The main objective of the museum is to protect, conserve and display Sudan's rich cultural heritage for the benefit of both the Sudanese and the international community, and it aims to help visitors understand the development of Sudanese history, its place in the world and Sudan's cultural diversity. Its galleries display artifacts that range in date from the Prehistoric era through to the Islamic period.
The Sudan National Museum is legally constituted as part of the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums of Sudan (NCAM), which is a department of the civil service under the Ministry for Antiquities, Tourism and Wildlife. The overall legislation under which the museum operates is the Ordinance for the protection of Antiquities of 1999, which prescribes the procedures to be followed for the protection, investigation, study and dissemination of information concerning archaeological sites, structures and movables antiquities. The legal right of the Sudan National Museum to preserve antiquities is based on a clause in the Antiquities Ordinance which prescribes that all relies or objects or archaeological interest, whether buried deep in the earth or found on the surface, are the property of the state, and that NCAM is assigned to preserve movable antiquities in museums, where they can be studied, conserved and exhibited in permanent temporary exhibitions.
The National Corporation for antiquities and Museums contains three main components:-
The first is the fieldwork section which undertakes archaeological survey and excavation, supervises fieldwork by national and foreign missions and guards sites containing significant (monumental) remains and those at which excavations are being undertaken. This work is carried out by an appointed staff antiquities officers and inspectors. The sites are guarded by appointed site guards and the antiquities and Tourism Police.
The second is the Museum Section. Artifacts from excavation become part of museum's permanent collection. Objects may remain in store for research and study purposes, can be placed on permanent display, form part of temporary exhibitions within the National Museum or may be allocated in regional museums within Sudan or lent to museums abroad for temporary exhibition. This section is also responsible for the administration of regional museums and the establishment of new museums in all parts of the country.
The third is the conservation and Restoration Department which works in the field assigning conservations to archaeological field missions and is engaged in the continued monitoring and restoration of monuments at sites. Its works is integrated with that of the Museum in that it undertakes monitoring of objects in store and on display in the museum and the conservation of items where required.