The Three Lichtenburg Museums
Located on route to Mmabatho, west of Johannesburg, lies the small town of Lichtenburg. This town was first established in 1873. Indeed, with its sunny days, natural water resources and open spaces, Commandant HA Greeff, founder of Lichtenburg, was charmed by this little oasis amidst the arid land. Lichtenburg’s history mostly centers on the life of General De La Rey, who was Assistant Commandant General in the Boer forces and the House of Assembly representative of the town. General De La Rey later became Senator and after a fatal shooting at Langlaagte, was buried in Lichtenburg. Lichtenburg has three interesting museums namely the Ampie Bosman Cultural History Museum, the North West Agricultural Museum and the Lichtenburg Diggings Museum.
The Ampie Bosman Cultural History Museum features the founding, development and history related to Lichtenburg. Some displays exhibit the diamond field discovery and the siege of Lichtenburg, in which General JH De La Rey, also known as the Lion of the West, played a significant role. The siege of Lichtenburg took place during the years of the Anglo Boer War (1899 – 1902).
The North West Agricultural Museum covers the history of agriculture, black smith tools, steam engines and a horse mil can be viewed the museum. A staggering collection of the earliest farm implements and mechanized agricultural aids, such as tractors, are also displayed. The North West Agricultural Museum takes you back into time and across centuries to educate and bring awareness to the hardship endured by the historical community of Lichtenburg, and the improvement and modernization in equipment over the years.
The Lichtenburg Diggings Museum was recently opened to the public and the first building to host temporary exhibits. The dominant theme throughout the Diggings Museum are the diggings of alluvial diamant that took the Lichtenburg region by storm in 1925 – 1935. This area was known to be the riches diggings the world that was open to the public. In 1927, the biggest pure red diamond, known as pigeon blood red, was discovered here. On the farm Grasfontein, just outside of Lichtenburg, the biggest diamond rush in history took place, in March 1927, in which 25 000 runners wanted to peg their claims.