History Museums

Museums

Building on the Eastern Cape’s rich history and cultural influences, museums play an important role in preserving artefacts and other objects of historical importance. There are both permanent museums in the region, as well as temporary exhibitions for you to visit on your travels.

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East London Museum

The East London Museum was established in 1921 when a museum society was founded with RJ Rattray as President. In 1925 it was granted land on the Selborne Estate by the East London Municipality. The Museum was officially opened on 26 September 1931. By 1945 it needed to expand, so a new site was...

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East London Museum

The East London Museum was established in 1921 when a museum society was founded with RJ Rattray as President. In 1925 it was granted land on the Selborne Estate by the East London Municipality. The Museum was officially opened on 26 September 1931. By 1945 it needed to expand, so a new site was obtained and the present building was opened in 1950. Further extensions were added in 1982 and on 22 June 2006 a new storage facility, funded by the National Lottery, was opened. Natural history collections include mammals, malacology, reptile, ornithology, pisces and botany. Humanities collections are largely concernec with the history of the people of the Eastern Cape from earliest times to present. These collections include material culture of the Southern Nguni peoples, in particular, one of the most representative collections of Eastern Cape beadwork; San Bushmen, German Settlers, British Settlers, and maritime history which includes the exploration voyages, shipwrecks, salvaging and East London Harbour. Collection highlights have included the excavation of a large fossil reptile skull and skeleton, Kannemeyria simocephalus near Tarkastad in 1934; the discovery of the coelacanth in 1938 which resulted in national acclaim for the Museum; work on trace-fossil footprints found in coastal sandstone rockface, dated at about 120 000 years old - the earliest evidence of homosapiens in Africa; and the recent dating of a skull found at Hofmeyr, placing the skull at between 30 000 and 40 000 years old. The skull is the only specimen from southern Africa at that date. East London Museum also incorporates, elsewhere in the city, an historic house museum, Gately House, acquired in 1966. Gately House, formerly the home of early Mayor John Gately, and its contents are a reflection of late Victorian style heritage. Opening times Mon-Thur 9h30 - 16h30 Fri 9h30 - 16h00 Saturdays 10h00 - 13h00 Sundays and Public Holidays 10h00 - 15h00 Closed Christmas Good Friday Entrance Fees Adults R10.00 Children R3.00 Pensioners R6.00

Contact Details

Telephone: +27 (0)43 7430686
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://elmuseum.za.org

Address

319 Oxford Street, East London

Kitching Fossil Exploration Centre

Background The Kitching Fossil Exploration Centre showcases the rich fossil deposits found at Nieu-Bethesda and in South Africa in general. The centre was established as part of a collaborative programme between the Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research at the University of the...

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Kitching Fossil Exploration Centre

Background The Kitching Fossil Exploration Centre showcases the rich fossil deposits found at Nieu-Bethesda and in South Africa in general. The centre was established as part of a collaborative programme between the Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, the Albany Museum in Grahamstown and the Department of Science and Technology to set up palaeotourism and provide employment opportunities. Palaeontologists at Nieu-Bethesda The story of palaeontology in South Africa is also the story of personalities, such as the famous Dr Robert Broom, who collected fossils in the area around Nieu-Bethesda long before he found the first specimens of ape-man in the Cradle of Humankind in Gauteng. James Kitching, who was brought up in Nieu Bethesda, became internationally renowned for his uncanny ability to discover fossils and later became professor in palaeontology at the University of the Witwatersrand. In 1970 he was the first person to collect and identify a specimen of a Karoo therapsid in Antarctica and so demonstrate that Antarctica and southern Africa were once connected. Past Environments The Centre tells the story of life in South Africa 253 million years ago during the Permian Period. This was 50 million years before the first dinosaurs, a time when the continents were joined to form the supercontinent, Pangea, and the mountains of the Cape were the size of the Himalayas. Proof for the existence of these animals and plants may be found in the rocks surrounding Nieu-Bethesda. At the time the area around the present day Nieu-Bethesda was covered by huge meandering rivers which flowed in a northerly direction. The floodplains teemed with prehistoric animals which died along banks of the river, were covered with mud and are today preserved as fossils. The rocks of Nieu-Bethesda are part of the Karoo Supergroup, which tell the story of life from 285 million to 180 million years ago. Visitors to the Fossil Exploration Centre can experience, on a short guided tour to nearby fossil-bearing rocks, the thrill of finding a fossil in the Karoo. Step into the Fossil Exploration Centre and you enter a world without the plants and animals we know today. Life-sized models of prehistoric animals which once lived in the Karoo and paintings by the artist Gerhard Marx illustrate a time when there were no flowers or grasses, no mammals and no birds. Humans would only arrive on scene around 250 million years later. At this time the mammal ancestors (or therapsids) ruled the Earth. Prehistoric Plants and Animals of the area The chief predators of the Permian period were the gorgonopsians, or terrible eyes, with dagger-like canine teeth like those of sabre-tooth cats. Rubidgea, a tiger-sized animal and the largest gorgonopsian, which roamed the floodplains of this area was a formidable carnivore. The gorgonopsians preyed on the herbivorous dicynodonts (two dogteeth), which had beaks like tortoises and defended themselves with a pair of tusks like those of a warthog. Aulacephalodon and Dicynodon were two large dicynodonts that wandered in herds around the Nieu-Bethesda area 253 million years ago. The pareiasaurs were another group of plant eaters that grew to the size of a cow. These animals may have been relatives of the tortoises and turtles. Ferns and horsetails, which were common at the time, may still be found in damp spots today. The forests were dominated by Glossopteris trees whose fossilised leaves formed the coal which is mined in South Africa today. Contact Information Tel (049) 849-1733 or (011) 717-6685 E-mail [email protected] Web www.wits.ac.za geosciences bpihe fossils of Nieu-Bethesda - South Africas own mian Park

Contact Details

Telephone: +27 (0)11 7176682
Mobile: +27 (0)84 5003902
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.wits.ac.za geosciences bpi kitching index.htm

Address

Martin Street, Nieu Bethesda

Mthatha Museum

The Museum was established by the then new Republic of Transkei in 1978. Its purpose was to collect, preserve and display material objects of cultural history or ethnography on the main. at that time, Transkei hoped to attract lots of overseas tourists. It was mwant to showcase the peoples of the...

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Mthatha Museum

The Museum was established by the then new Republic of Transkei in 1978. Its purpose was to collect, preserve and display material objects of cultural history or ethnography on the main. at that time, Transkei hoped to attract lots of overseas tourists. It was mwant to showcase the peoples of the new state and culture. Like the National Library Services and Archives, the Museum was one of the support services of the Department of Education. As such, it had to change its focus and not be tourist oriented only, but assist in the formal education and research. For that reason, it changed from a purely cultural history museum to a Natural History Museum. The research areas of the museum covers both human and natural history. Departments include the following Human History -Anthropology -Archaeology -History -African and Colonial -Modern History -Struggle for Liberation Natural History -Ichtyology -Mammals -Ornithology -Shells The museum is housed at the old Umthatha General Post Office which is located at the corner of York Road and Victoria Street, Mthatha. It has a branch at the old Masnic Lodge at Port St. Johns. Opening Times Weekdays only, 0800 - 1630

Contact Details

Telephone: +27 (0)47 5312427
Mobile: +27 (0)79 8605574
Email: [email protected]

Address

Corner York Road And Victoria Street, Mthatha

South End Museum

A visit to the South End Museum etches deep into the minds and hearts of the guest. This museum immerses one into the lives, cultures, challenges, tragedies and victories of those that experienced Apartheid at its most intense. The experience starts on entry into South End, where the Wild Fig Tree,...

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South End Museum

A visit to the South End Museum etches deep into the minds and hearts of the guest. This museum immerses one into the lives, cultures, challenges, tragedies and victories of those that experienced Apartheid at its most intense. The experience starts on entry into South End, where the Wild Fig Tree, Hindu Temple and Muslim mosques stand out amidst the everyday hustle and bustle of the Nelson Mandela Metropole. The building that houses the museum was, itself, a prominent and important structure. Situated right on the shore, this was a key position since fishing was such an integral part of the South End community.

Contact Details

Telephone: +27 (0)41 5823325
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.southendmuseum.co.za

Address

P. O. Box 1327 Main Post Officw 6000

Sukume Museum & Xhosa Culture Centre

Sukume Museum and Xhosa Culture Centre aims to uplift as well as educate. We provide an interesting view of the Xhosa Culture such as what Lobola entails, as well as explanations of some of the Xhosa Beliefs. The history of the Walmer Township as well as the current condition of the day to day life...

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Sukume Museum & Xhosa Culture Centre

Sukume Museum and Xhosa Culture Centre aims to uplift as well as educate. We provide an interesting view of the Xhosa Culture such as what Lobola entails, as well as explanations of some of the Xhosa Beliefs. The history of the Walmer Township as well as the current condition of the day to day life including the poverty, AIDS and education levels is outlined. The museum also includes the apartheid era, highlighting the triumphs and struggles as well as well-known and some not so well-known Xhosa personalities. Latitude -34 0 4.67 S Longitude 25 34 28.81 E

Contact Details

Telephone: +27 (0)41 3662082
Mobile: +27 (0)76 9786627
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.jmin.org.za/smx.html

Address

Human Dignity Centre, 1 Victoria Avenue, Walmer, Port Elizabeth, 6070

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