Museum and locals connect

2018-07-10 06:00
Discussions about the liberation and forced removals are two of the projects the museum is running in partnership with schools.

Discussions about the liberation and forced removals are two of the projects the museum is running in partnership with schools.

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Residents – who were forcibly removed from Simon’s Town due to the Group Areas Act – and learners from Red Hill, Ocean View, Langa and Gugulethu are still maintaining close contact and relations with the Simon’s Town Museum.

“The museum was established in 1977 by the Simon’s Town Historical Society. The museum was originally housed in the old Simon’s Town Municipality complex, but moved to “The Residency” in 1982. The building has a long history, having been used as a hospital, post office, school, customs house, police station, gaol and magistrate’s court,” says Tazneem Wentzel, education officer at the museum.

“We have many visitors both national and international, many schools, old age homes, retirement groups and social clubs attending the museum.

“We offer a variety of educational and outreach programmes. The educational programmes include a history of Simon’s Town, Just Nuisance, forced removals and indigenous knowledge. We also offer special programmes to schools,” she says.

One of the distinguishing features of the museum is the connection between social and naval history.

“Simon’s Town has occupied a globally important position for a long time. As a result there are many fascinating connections to the rest of the world. Also, we have a team of wonderful volunteers who assist us with research and running the museum,” Wentzel says.

“We have a few projects that we are planning for the rest of the year and everyone is looking forward to Mandela Day on Wednesday 18 July when we are hosting an exhibition and outreach programme. The Museum Club will be working with children in Ocean View on themes of heritage and history-making.

“We are also preparing for the 50th commemoration of the forced removals.These are some of the projects that I am looking forward to,” she says.

On Youth Day, 16 June, the museum, in partnership with Kleinberg Primary and Pathways to Free Education, hosted the “My Museum, My Local History” exhibition­.

“It was a celebration and commemoration of our youth as our greatest treasure and our future. We hosted the Grade 4s from Kleinberg Primary. We first met the Grade 4s in an introduction to museum and heritage. This learning journey culminated in the Grade 4s exhibiting their work in the museum.

“We commemorated the contribution that young people made in the liberation. This was followed by a workshop conducted by Pathways to Free Education, and culminated in an expression session.

“Children were given the opportunity to discuss and showcase what they had learnt on the day in the form of rap, song, and poetry. The building of a family tree captivated the attention of the children and some of them made an extra effort to outshine the others,” she says..

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