Unique Natal Museum

2010-03-02 00:00

IN the second instalment of The ­Witness series on museums taking part in The Witness Pietermaritzburg Museum Passport Project, we take a look at the Natal Museum.

The museum at 237 Jabu Ndlovu (Loop) Street, 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 that 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, and a reconstruction of a Victorian street, complete with shops and period homes.

What makes the Natal Museum particularly interesting are the frequent temporary exhibitions that give the museum a dynamic advantage. Previous temporary exhibitions have included an exploration of the history of segregation in the United States, xenophobic violence, and a children’s art exhibition.

The museum will be opening a new and exciting exhibition on the Fifa Soccer World Cup in May this year, and will also be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Indian people to South Africa with an exhibition showcasing the Indian community of Pietermaritzburg.

The 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 from 9 am to 4.30 pm Monday to Friday, 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday and 11 am to 3 pm on Sunday.

Inquiries: 033 345 1404.

THE Natal Museum is one of seven organisations taking part in this year’s The Witness Pietermaritzburg Museum Passport Project — a scheme that encourages pupils to visit the Natal Museum in Jabu Ndlovu (Loop) Street, PMB Tourism, the Voortrekker/Msunduzi Museum in Langalibalele (Longmarket) Street, Macrorie House Museum in Jabu Ndlovu Street, the Tatham Art Gallery in Chief ­Albert Luthuli Street (Commerical Road), Comrades House in Connaught Road and The Old Prison in Burger Street, over a two-month period.

Pupils each get a museum passport that is stamped by the museum when they visit. They can visit the participating venues either with their schools or individually, and should book a time to tour the museums before they arrive. Please note: parents cannot come to the museums to get stamps for their children.

The school with the most stamped entries will win a photocopier sponsored by Nashua Maritzburg and two lucky ­pupils will also win notebook computers sponsored by The Witness. There are also a host of other smaller prizes, including iPods, MP3 players, stationery packs and lots more to be won by both schools and pupils who complete the project. The closing date for entries is April 12, and the winners will be drawn shortly after the competition closes. For more information about the project contact any one of the participating organisations.

THE Natal Museum is one of seven organisations taking part in this year’s The Witness Pietermaritzburg Museum Passport Project — a scheme which encourages pupils to visit the Natal Museum in Jabu Ndlovu (Loop) Street, PMB Tourism, the Voortrekker/Msunduzi Museum in Langalibalele (long Market) Street, Macrorie House Museum in Jabu Ndlovu Street, Tatham Art Gallery in Chief Albert Lithuli Street (Commerical Road), Comrades House in Connaught Road and The Old Prison in Burger Street over a two month period.

Pupils each get a ‘museum passport’ which is stamped by the museum when they visit. They can visit the participating venues either with their schools or individually, and should book a time to tour the museums before they arrive. Please note: parents cannot come to the museums to get stamps for their children.

The school with the most stamped entries will win a photocopier sponsored by Nashua Maritzburg and two lucky pupils will also win notebook computers sponsored by The Witness. There are also a host of other smaller prizes, including iPods, MP3 Players, stationery packs and lots more to be won by both schools and pupils who complete the project.

The closing date for entries is April 12, and winners will be drawn shortly after the competition closes. For more information about the project contact any one of the participating organisations.

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