Tour the National Museum Bloemfontein

Officially opened on 20 May 1878, the National Museum Bloemfontein is a fascinating attraction that allows visitors to delve into art, cultural history and natural history. The museum aims to be the best heritage center in Africa by means of top research, education, conservation and exhibitions. It offers fascinating information and enjoyable experiences that will appeal to all ages. At present, the National Museum Bloemfontein consists of a library, thirteen research departments, an Education Department, administration, technical departments and an Art Museum. Satellite museums connected to the main museum include Oliewenhuis Art Museum, Freshford House Museum, the Wagon Museum, First Raadsaal Museum and the Florisbad Quaternary Research Department.

The National Museum Bloemfontein has a number of thematic halls and exhibitions. The Anthropology Hall looks at various cultural groups, such as the Ovambo, Himba, San, Zulu, Sotho, Tswana, Xhosa, Venda and Ndebele. An exhibition on the history of Bloemfontein/Mangaung was set up in September 2002. The exhibition includes a diorama of Bloemfontein in 1851, a look at the historical architecture of the city, the city’s founding, celebrities who have originated from this area, medical history, the founding of political parties in the city, and much more. Also of interest is the Historical Street Scene, which gives visitors insight into the life of people living in the Free State during the early 20th century. There are scenes of a home, a pharmacy, a general dealer, a cobbler, and a blacksmith.

The museum’s Archeology Hall draws attention to human communities residing in southern Africa since two million years back. Insight into the lives of these people is provided through various material remains discovered. The Paleontology Hall guides visitors through the theory of evolution, describing how life on earth may have begun. It includes fossils of reptiles found in the Karoo, as well as dinosaur fossils. A fantastic feature of this section is the specially designed exhibit for the disabled, such as the provision of information in Braille and tactile displays. The Dreyer Hall consists of various archeological items donated by Prof. T. F. Dreyer in 1936.

The National Museum Bloemfontein’s Geology Hall offers visitors a spectacular display of minerals. It provides detailed explanations on how different types of rocks are formed. From terra firma to outer space, the museum boasts an impressive Solar System display, along with information and displays on meteorites.

Those interested in animal life will have plenty to discover in the museum. The Bird Hall offers interesting displays that give fascinating information on bird adaptations, flight, bird eggs, nests, rodent and prey population control, migration, flightless birds and bird sounds. The Herpetology Hall focuses on crocodiles, tortoises, turtles, snakes, lizards, amphibians, and fish. Find out more about invertebrate behavior, communication and biodiversity in the Invertebrate Hall. Many fascinating mammal species are exhibited in the Mammal display, both local and rare species from around the world.

A visit to the National Museum Bloemfontein is both educational and exciting. The museum is fully accessible to the physically disabled and also offers an audio guide for free. Guided tours of the museum can be booked in advance. Visitors will find National Museum Bloemfontein at 36 Aliwal Street in Bloemfontein.