Jeffrey's Bay Shell Museum - A Marvel
In 1969, Jeffrey's Bay became a municipality, and with the town developing as a favorite for holiday makers, plenty of Jeffey's Bay's hidden treasures came to light. Today Jeffrey's Bay is one of the top surfing destinations in the world, and is famous for the rare and unique shells that are found on its beaches. And with that being said, there definitely was room for a museum that displays shells, such as the exquisite and rare paper nautilus. The Jeffrey's Bay Shell Museum also displays shells from various other countries.
The Jeffrey's Bay Shell Museum, also known as the Charlotte Kritzinger Shell Museum, was started from the private home of a local resident named Charlotte Kritzinger in 1945. Charlotte stored her unique shells in boxes and would gladly show off her collection to interested visitors, explaining their origin and any information connected regarding a specific item. Marine life skeletons were also amongst her collection. The Jeffrey's Bay Shell Museum operated in this way until Charlotte's death in 1960. Her collection was advertised in the newspaper and the local Municipality acted upon this by purchasing her collection.
The Jeffrey's Bay Shell Museum was moved to the library where, in the honor of Charlotte Kritzinger, the museum was opened in the 1970’s. A curatrixes was appointed over the Jeffrey's Bay Shell Museum in 1986, and the collection received an addition of 350 deepwater species and shells. Shells are donated to the Museum or acquired by exchange through collectors throughout the world. If funds are available, new shells are purchased, but the Jeffrey's Bay Shell Museum mostly relies on the generous donations by private collectors. The Jeffreys Bay Shell Museum now boasts the biggest collection of shells in South Africa. The Museum is open at specific times each day of the week. And for future shell collectors, or just the curious, Jeffrey's Bay has an annual Shell Festival every September.
What started as just a hobby for Charlotte Kritzinger, the shell enthusiast, was the birth of a heritage and the Jeffrey's Bay Shell Museum, to be left behind for generations to view and marvel at.