Museum seeks World War 1 memorabilia

2014-01-20 00:00

THIS year marks the centenary of the beginning of World War 1 and the Msunduzi Museum (incorporating the Voortrekker Complex) is appealing to the public to consider donating any items or photographs related to the war for an exhibition.

“We only have a few relevant items in our collection,” says Elrica Henning, the museum’s chief research officer.

World War 1 began on July 18, 1914 and lasted until November 11, 1918 and though the war’s main theatre was on the Western Front running through Belgium and France, there were also theatres of war in the Near and Middle East, East Africa and South-West Africa.

Henning says the museum is seeking items from both world wars fought in the twentieth century — World War 1 and World War 2 (1939 to 1945). “We are also looking for books about the subject for our reference library. People tend to think of us when donating items related to the Voortrekkers, but we are interested in collecting any item reflecting the history of the people of this city.”

Henning said the museum is constantly trying to fill gaps in its collection and to organise exhibits that tell the story of Pietermaritzburg. “When we appealed for artefacts and information concerning the Roy Hesketh racing circuit in Hayfields we had an amazing response and were able to organise a very successful and popular exhibition.”

The museum is planning to organise an exhibition of donated items related to the world wars with accompanying talks for a date in late July. At this stage Ganes Pillay is scheduled to talk on the Indian, coloured and African participation in the two world wars and Patrick Voorma, a diver, will speak on finding the wreck of HMS Otus. This submarine saw extensive service in the Mediterranean during World War 2 and after being used as a training ship in South Africa was scuttled off Durban in 1946.

If you can help, please contact Elrica Henning on 033 394 6834 or e-mail

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