National History Museum
 
 

News

  • New temporary exhibition | Ancient monster: A look at the origin of mammals.

    10 July 2018

    The Karoo Palaeontology Department at the National Museum, Bloemfontein is proud to announce a new temporary exhibit showcasing the department’s exceptional fossils that demonstrate one of the most significant transitions in evolutionary history – the evolution of mammals. Known as therapsids, they are the precursors to modern mammals and represent some 75 million years of pre-mammalian evolution. Although not as big as some of the largest dinosaurs, they still include some of the most frightening carnivores of the time, such as the sabre-toothed gorgonopsians, as well as the tiniest non-mammaliaform cynodonts, the closest relatives to mammals.Come and see these amazing fossils from the South African Karoo, many of which were discovered in the Free State, and learn about the ancestors of mammals.

  • Palaeontological Society of Southern Africa (PSSA) NEWS

    3 July 2018

    The National Museum is proud to be hosting the 20th Biennial Conference of the Palaeontological Society of Southern Africa (PSSA) from 4-6 July 2018. It is the largest palaeontological meeting in southern Africa and attracts scientists from all around the globe. This year more than 80 scientists from seven countries will be presenting their latest, exciting research from 260 million year old insect-plant interactions and the transition from fish to amphibians, to early dinosaur and pre-mammalian palaeobiology, and the evolution of endurance running in the first humans.

    The National Museum boasts three departments, namely Karoo Palaeontology, Florisbad Quaternary Research and Archaeology that are actively involved in South African palaeozoological and palaeobotanical research. Researchers in the Archaeological Department use fossil plants to reconstruct ancient palaeoenvironments. The Karoo Palaeontology Department houses more than 4000 vertebrate fossils ranging from 260-190 million years old and fully equipped fossil preparation and osteohistology laboratories. The Florisbad Quaternary Research Department manages the world-renowned Florisbad research site, from where the 260 000 year old archaic human skull of “Florisbad man” was discovered, and holds the largest modern mammal osteological collection in South Africa.

    Many exciting fossil discoveries have been made and considerable new important research conducted since the PSSA was last held in Bloemfontein in 2002, making the National Museum the ideal venue for the 20th PSSA in 2018.

  • New temporary exhibition | Ancient monster: A look at the origin of mammals.

    29 June 2018

    The Karoo Palaeontology Department at the National Museum, Bloemfontein is proud to announce a new temporary exhibit showcasing the department’s exceptional fossils that demonstrate one of the most significant transitions in evolutionary history – the evolution of mammals. Known as therapsids, they are the precursors to modern mammals and represent some 75 million years of pre-mammalian evolution. Although not as big as some of the largest dinosaurs, they still include some of the most frightening carnivores of the time, such as the sabre-toothed gorgonopsians, as well as the tiniest non-mammaliaform cynodonts, the closest relatives to mammals.Come and see these amazing fossils from the South African Karoo, many of which were discovered in the Free State, and learn about the ancestors of mammals.

  • NATIONAL MUSEUM: Opening of a new Temporary display entitled, ‘Illuminated Manuscripts’.

    15 February 2018

    Our newest temporary display, which will run from February until May 2018, is up! ‘Illuminated Manuscripts’ is a uniqueexhibitionresulting from a collaboration between four of Central South Africa’sheritage institutions; The National Museum (Bloemfontein), Oliewenhuis Art Museum (Bloemfontein), William Humphreys Art Gallery (Kimberley), and The McGregor Museum (Kimberley).

    The exhibit explores the predecessor of printed books by discussing the materials, techniques, tools and customs employed when producing hand-made books. On display are a variety of articles and works from the collections of the above institutions as well as many reconstructions of historic techniques, exemplars of available materials, and a wealth of technical information for those who wish to know more.

    In order to further explore this fascinating craft a bookbinding workshop will be presented at Oliewenhuis Art Museum in late February by specialist bookbinder and paper conservationist, Johann Maree.

    The exhibit will travel to Kimberley, and be on display at the William Humphreys Art Gallery from June 2018. They will present an additional calligraphy workshop and WHAGFILM will screen a beautiful movie inspired by medieval illuminated manuscripts.

  • Women’s Fashion through the Decades

    21 August 2017

    Woman’s fashion, like most art forms, has undergoneradical changes and growth throughout the twentieth century.Because fashion has always been key in how women present and express themselves to the world, it can be viewed in order to understand the customs and norms of a particular era or culture.

    In celebration of Woman’s Month, the National Museum has compiled an exhibition on the development of Woman’s fashion during the twentieth century. The exhibition, which will run until November 2017, covers most major developments in popular fashion and displays fashion items from the National Museum’s comprehensive historic collection.It shows the progression fromthe early 20th century, with itsmodest and constricting corsets, hoops, and innumerable petticoats that covered, compressed, and physically modified women's figures, to clothing thathad a more natural, comfortable and self-expressive quality.

  • Africa Month - The Year of OR Tambo

    28 June 2017
    African Masks
    African Masks

    In May, South Africa celebrates Africa Month under the theme: “The Year of OR Tambo: Building a Better Africa and a Better World”. Africa Month provides an opportunity to promote African unity, deeper regional integration and a recommitment to a common African destiny. A new temporary exhibit entitled ‘Africa’s Rainbow of Cultures’ has been installed in celebration of Africa Month.

    African Masks

    Africa is the world’s second largest continent and home to 1.2 billion people. The continent comprises 54 independent states of which Algeria is the largest in terms of surface area and Nigeria is the most densely populated state. Home to a diversity of ethnic groups, Africa boasts a rich variety of cultures. Various factors have influenced and shaped African cultures, including religion, the environment, politics, technology, innovation and inter-cultural interactions.

    African cultures are known for their traditional crafts, such as basketry, pottery, woodcarving, textiles (woven and printed), musical instruments and the making of tools and weapons. This exhibition aims to showcase Africa’s rainbow of cultures by means of a selection of artefacts from the National Museum’s anthropology collection. Objects and textiles from a variety of countries ranging from Egypt in the north, Nigeria in the west, Kenya in the east and Zimbabwe in the south, display the vast cultural diversity of a vibrant and fascinating continent.

    Two special exhibits have also been put up for Africa Day one presents the African Union flag and anthem and the other is a commendation to OR Tambo.

  • History of the Mangaung Fire Brigade

    9 March 2017

    A temporary exhibition about the history of fire fighting in Bloemfontein / Mangaung, in partnership with the Mangaung Fire Brigade Museum, is currently on show at the National Museum.  The exhibition showcases antique equipment, tools and gear from the Mangaung Fire Brigade Museum's extensive collection. These authentic articles show the technological advancement of fire fighting practices over time. They also illustrate the challenges, vulnerabilities and limitations posed by equipment available at the time and how these aspects were overcome by inventive strategies and innovations.  

  • Opening of the Vêrlander exhibition

    1 December 2016
    Opening of the exhibition by Her Excellency Ms Marisa Gerards.
    Opening of the exhibition by Her Excellency Ms Marisa Gerards.

    Vêrlander exhibition

    Vêrlander is a visual event celebrating the cultural heritage of the hitherto largely ignored indigenous communities of Khoekhoe descent in Southern Africa.  The project documents the stories of 19th century chiefs Cornelius Kok, Josef Frederick, Dirk Vilander, Frederic Vleermuis and Goliath Yzerbek.  They are founding fathers of the Griqua people, Mier Basters, Oorlam Nama and ‘Regshande’ Korana.  The word Vêrlander was used by one of the interviewees in the Kalahari to indicate that his forefather came from ‘a far away land’.  The exhibition comprises some 30 portraits of the descendents of these chiefs and members of their communities.  

    This exhibition is the outcome of a project undertaken by Mr Geert Snoeijer, Dutch documentary and portrait photographer with a strong interest in anthropology, and Dr Bart de Graaf, Dutch historian and writer with a vast knowledge of South Africa. 

    As this exhibition is part of a larger project on the interaction between Dutch colonial rule and indigenous communities during the 17th and 18th centuries, Vêrlander will also be exhibited in the Netherlands (Westfries Museum in Hoorn), Australia (Western Australian Museum in Geraldton) and Indonesia (Galeri Jurnalistik Antara, Jakarta).

    The exhibition was opened by the Netherland’s Ambassador to South Africa, Her Excellency Ms Marisa Gerards, on 24 November.  

    From left: Dr Bart de Graaff, Her Excellency Ms Marisa Gerards, Ambassador of the Netherlands to South Africa, and Mr Geert Snoeijer.

     

     

    Mr Geert Snoeijer, photographer,  and Mr Adam Kok from the House of Cornelius Kok II from Campbell, Northern Cape, admiring his portrait.

     

     

    Members of the House of Cornelius Kok II Griekwa community from Campbell, Northern Cape, singing Psalm 100 during the opening function.

     

     

    Her Excellency Ms Marisa Gerards and Mrs Valerie Beck from Bloemfontein at Mrs Beck's portrait.

     

     

    Mr Geert Snoeijer (centre) with Mr Christo Venter and Me Toni Pretorius, both of the Museum's Design Department, at the portrait of Me Hendriena Kok from the House of Cornelius Kok II in Campbell.

     

     

    Her Excellency Ms Marisa Gerards with Me Limakatso Koloi, Mayor of the Dawid Kruiper Local Municipality, Northen Cape. 

     

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