Iziko South African Museum
25 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, South Africa
www.iziko.org.za/museums/sou… - +27 (0)21 481 3800
Iziko South African Museum Cape Town Reviews
Oldest Museum in South Africa Sep 06, 2011
The South African museum was founded in 1825, making it the oldest in South Africa and one of the oldest in sub Saharan Africa. Primarily a museum of natural history with an emphasis on biology and anthropology, it also has some displays covering the cultural heritage of indigenous African peoples. In addition, there is a display covering some astronomy along with a planetarium. The diverse range of exhibitions is distributed on 4 levels with an open area in the center (the Whale Well) displaying casts of whale skeletons that can be seen from all levels. Some of the permanent collections are named: African Dinosaurs, Darwin and the Cape, Marine Exhibits, Our Place in the Universe, The Power of Rock Art, Wonders of Nature and Virtual Earth, among others. For a complete list and description see the museum website.
I found the Darwin Trail, covering Charles Darwin's visit to the Cape of Africa aboard the HMS Beagle in 1836, particularly interesting, extensive and well documented. This was the last area the HMS Beagle stopped for any length of time before returning home to England after the 5 year journey. Most people are familiar with Darwin's time in the Galapagos, but his visit to the Cape of Africa is another fascinating chapter in the voyage of the Beagle. The rock art gallery is intriguing as well, displaying specimens of ancient rock paintings, done in red ochre on stone, found throughout the region that were made by Bushmen (also known as San people) thousands of years ago. It's a tribute to the artistry, creativity and cultural heritage of South Africa's indigenous people, of which little is known. This is especially interesting and thought provoking in the post Apartheid era in South Africa, before which museums tended to focus on the heritage of white people, while the heritage of the indigenous people was mostly forgotten.
Part of the Under African Skies (Sep. 5-19, 2011) travel blog
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