Collections Management


Basotho blankets on display at Oliewenhuis Art Museum

6 June 2014

15 May – 6 July 2014

The Basotho blanket collection was made available on loan to the National Museum by the Robertson family from Ladybrand, who traded in Basotho blankets.  The uniqueness of this collection lies in its antiquity.  The collection includes a Sandringham mountain rug, or Mohodu, dating back to 1934, a Badges of the Brave blanket honouring those who fought in World War II (1939-1945) and a Batho ba Roma blanket made to commemorate Pope John Paul’s visit to Lesotho in 1988.  But certainly the most prestigious blanket in the collection is the Victoria England / Seanamarena or ‘chief’s blanket’.  Production of this type of blanket is restricted, making it more expensive and therefore a much sought after item.

Badges of the brave

Seanamarena or 'chief's blanket'

Basotho Collection available on SAHRIS's webpage

16 September 2013

The Basotho Collection which forms part of the Museum’s Anthropology Collection was recently added to the South African Heritage Resources Information System, commonly known as SAHRIS.

A traditional conical hat weaved from palm fibres (O 3467).
Decorated clay pot used for carrying and storing liquids, mainly water (O 1089).

Quilt works now form part of international quilt index

16 September 2013

Patchwork and quilted items in the textile collection are now included in an international quilt index This reference tool provides valuable information and images about quilts held in private and public collections all over the world.

What is a quilt

Usually a quilt is made by sewing two pieces of cloth together with padding in-between held in place by stitching that creates a design. However, very few quilts in the Museum’s collection are in actual fact quilted; they are rather examples of patchwork. Patchwork or pieced work involves sewing together shaped pieces of fabric to produce a pattern or motif. The larger design is accomplished by repeating these patterns.


In rural areas in South Africa, where fabric was very scarce, it took a lot of artistic innovation to create something beautiful. A woman would often use plain white or off-white fabric as a focal point in a design and then decorate it with land embroidery (G 470).

Many different pattern names exist, e.g. the Grandmothers’ Flower Garden pattern, where a central hexagon is circled by six colourful printed or solid hexagons to make a flower motif (G 931).

Genealogical information added to eGGSA database

16 September 2013

All the Family Bibles with genealogical information were added to the eGGSA database

eGGSA is the virtual branch of the Genealogical Society of South Africa. Genealogy can be defined as the study of your family tree.

One of the many Family Bibles in the Museum’s collection. Commandant Tjaart van die Walt was a well-known and respected commandant during the Third Frontier War (1799-1903), and a very good shot as illustrated in the Afrikaans saying “om ’n Van der Walt-skoot te skiet”

Stained glass on exhibition repaired

16 September 2013

The unique lead glass doors on display in the Museum's restaurant was restored by Danie de Klerk from DR Art Glass Studio in Calitizdorp. The glass panels were removed from the exhibition and transported to the studio in Calitzdorp where they were disassembled and repaired. Missing or damaged pieces were replicated.






The Oranje Hotel (c. 1970) situated at 62 St. Andrew Street, Bloemfontein.







These stained glass panels were originally part of the doors to the dining hall in the Oranje Hotel, formerly the Queens Hotel, and are representative of the rich decoration characteristic of the late-Republican era in the Free State (1890 – 1900).











Workshops presented

16 September 2013

A number of training workshops were presented to staff members from local and surrounding museums. This included basic handling and cleaning techniques as well as basic conservation techniques for museum collections.

For more information regarding similar workshops contact the Head of Department, Sudré Havenga.

conservation workshop
Yvonne Kok (McGregor Museum, Kimberley), Ina Steyl (Military Museum, Bloemfontein) and Sudré Havenga (National Museum).