Museum shows off ‘the place you live’

2015-11-03 06:00

From whale bones to ancient tools, the Fish Hoek Valley Museum has been collecting noteworthy artifacts and caring for the history of the village for 21 years.

The Fish Hoek Valley Historical Association began in 1978 and one of its main concerns was the need for a museum in which the history of the valley, extending from False Bay in the east to the Noordhoek-Kommetjie coastline in the west, could be displayed.

Over a number of years items of historical interest were collected and stored in the Fish Hoek Library until eventually the town council gave the Historical Association the use of a house on the corner of Recreation Road and Fifth Avenue.

The museum opened in 1994 and houses a collection of bleached whale bones from the time when Fish Hoek was a whaling station.

There are also artefacts and murals of Peers Cave, depicting the cave as it must have been when inhabited by the Khoisan.

The cave was excavated in the late 1920s by Victor Peers and his son Bertie, with the duo finding numerous stone tools and the remains of people. One of these was dubbed the “Fish Hoek Man”, estimated to be 12 000 years old. Photographs of the excavation are also housed in the museum.

Photographs tracing the development of Fish Hoek from Fish Hoek farm, which was owned by the De Villiers family, can also be found in the museum.

Children are encouraged to pose for photos in the mayor of Fish Hoek’s chair.

The museum is a private museum and receives no public funding. It relies heavily on donations, volunteers and support from the Historical Association. Volunteers do not need previous historical knowledge.

Chief volunteer Courtney Spence says the service is highly rewarding.

“We meet a wide variety of people. I’m a former teacher, so I really enjoy when the kids come to the museum.”

The museum is growing yearly, Spence explains.

“We’re gradually running out of space. Many donate items when they move house, such as old cameras and items from farmhouse kitchens,” he says.

The museum has a worthy cause – it makes residents aware of the local history and teaches people about the buildings of and famous residents from Fish Hoek.

“It’s important to know something about the place you live.”

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