National Museum of Natural History (Transvaal Museum)
Situated on Paul Kruger Street, in Pretoria, the Transvaal Museum was built and completed in 1913. It was designed by John Stockwin Cleland, who was employed as Chief Architect of the Department of Public Works in 1902, on his arrival from England. He also designed the Pretoria High School for Girls and Pretoria Boys’ High School. The Transvaal Museum was renamed National Museum of Natural History in April 2010 and is under the curatorship of Ditsong Museums of South Africa.
The National Museum of Natural History has four display halls. The first being the Genesis I: Hall of Life. Here the history of life on earth is exhibited though models of tape worms, insects, sea anemones and spiders. Displays of sharks and the extremely rare coelacanth are exhibited. The coelacanth in this hall was caught in 1938, off the Eastern Cape coast. Also included are models of reptiles and amphibians. The Genesis II: Mammal Hall, exhibits the evolutionary history of mammals, including unique mammals that roamed South Africa approximately 270 million years ago. In the Austin Roberts Bird Hall, visitors will find an astonishing collection of 870 of South Africa’s bird life. The Council of GeoScience provided the Museum with the display for the GeoScience Museum exhibit that features precious and semi-precious stones and materials.
The National Museum of Natural History in Pretoria exhibits an impressive collection of Invertebrates, which sub divisions feature the Hymenoptera Collection, Neuroptera Collection, Orthoptera Collection, Odonata Collection, Lepidoptera Collection and Coleoptera Collection which all form part of the Insecta Class. Also featured in this division is the Arachnida Class. There are four collections under the department of Vertebrates, namely the Herpetology Collection, the Mammal Collection, Ornithology Collection and Archeazoology Collections. Over and above, the above mentioned collections, constant research in regard to these areas are being done by the research department of the Museum.
There is an Information Department that is available through a library, digital information and other information media, and the Museum Shop has a variety of informative books and posters available for purchase. The Museum has a vast range of displays and exhibits, which are educational and interesting. The National Museum of Natural History, under the curatorship of Ditsong Museums of South Africa, has two spacious auditoriums and a hall available for functions, educational presentations and temporary exhibits.