Museum at Comrades House upgraded

2016-10-05 06:00
PHOTO: nicole john Cutting the ribbon at the official opening of the Comrades House Museum last Friday are (from left) Comrades veteren Barry Varty, CMA chairman Macdonald Chitja and chairman of the Comrades heritage and traditions committee, Jeff Minnaar.

PHOTO: nicole john Cutting the ribbon at the official opening of the Comrades House Museum last Friday are (from left) Comrades veteren Barry Varty, CMA chairman Macdonald Chitja and chairman of the Comrades heritage and traditions committee, Jeff Minnaar.

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COMRADES Marathon Association officially opened the new and improved Comrades House Museum last Friday.

The two-storey museum incorporates all elements of the race from the history of the race to the route to honouring dedicated runners and supporters. The new museum uses interactive technology adding a different dimension to the museum.

There is a treadmill that can be used by visitors to give them a taste of when it is like climbing some of the more difficult hills in the race and televisions and infographics add to the experience.

The museum, which was first opened 28 years ago, was in need of an upgrade in order to bring the museum into the 21st century.

Speaking at the opening, Jeff Minnaar, chairman of the CMA heritage and traditions committee, said the upgrade was done to ensure that the museum was up to date and a true representation of the race as a whole.

“The museum has stood the test of time. We have made sure that the history of the race has been preserved. While the old museum was wonderful, we needed something new that would attract and appeal to the younger generation. The museum is now more interactive, uses modern technology and has received an all round facelift.

“We wanted to create an environment where visitors can share in the experiences of the runners, and that is what we tried to give them,” he said.

The upgrade, which took 10 months, is still a work in progress with a few finishing touches and extras to be added by the end of the year.

On the bottom floor of the museum there is a room dedicated to the history of the race, with memorabilia from various Comrades greats, and a record of the race from each generation.

In another room there is the route of the race, with an interactive television showing a recording of the race, a treadmill to experience the infamous Polly Shortts and a “selfie” wall for visitors to take pictures.

There is also a room dedicated to green-number runners which honours them and has their names on plaques on the wall.

The wall at the staircase has significant memories of the changes of Comrades from the first race, taking visitors through each of the milestones that Comrades has achieved.

Upstairs has a charity shop where merchandise can be bought and a room honouring all the volunteers that help each Comrades to become a success every year. The CMA boardroom continues to be a part of the museum as well.

“We will continue to enforce the history of the race and the value of the organisation. It’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase Comrades and I’m sure our founding father would be proud and his history will live on for years to come,” said CMA chairman, Macdonald Chitja.

Comrades House Museum is open to the public, and entry is free.


The museum, which was first opened 28 years ago, was in need of an upgrade

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