Passport to the past

2011-05-24 00:00

IN the first installment of our series on museums taking part in The Witness Pietermaritzburg Museum Passport Project, we take a look at the KwaZulu-Natal Museum.

Situated at 237 Jabu Ndlovu (Loop) Street, Pietermaritzburg, the museum is one of South Africa’s five national museums, and is housed in a building that dates back to 1905.

This cultural and natural-history museum is renowned for its unique collections. There are eight natural history and around 10 cultural-history galleries, which include an array of mammals, birds, amphibians, insects, an extensive mollusc collection and a life-size T-Rex model.

There is also a room dedicated to KwaZulu-Natal history, geological and paleontological material, Spice of Life a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Indian people to South Africa, and a reconstruction of a Victorian street.

But, what makes the KwaZulu-Natal Museum particularly interesting are the frequent exhibitions it hosts.

These have included an exploration of the history of segregation in the United States, xenophobic violence, and a children’s art exhibition.

Currently on show at the museum is The Stalwarts of Peace Exhibition, featuring Kasturba Gandhi, the wife of Mahatma Gandhi. Also featured in this display, which will be on show until August, is a timeline of the political struggles of the women of South Africa and the economic value of rural home industry, in particular the spinning wheel and hand-spun cloth.

The KwaZulu-Natal Museum is popular with schools and family visitors alike, and boasts an Internet café with 11 computers, a resource library for pupils, a film room and a coffee-snack bar.

The museum is open Monday to Friday from 8.15 am to 4.30 pm, Saturdays from 9 am to 4 pm and Sundays from 10 am to 3 pm.

Inquiries: 033 345 1404.

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