International Museum Day celebrated soon

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Lystrosaurus murrayi, a mammal ancestor from the Karoo.

International Museum Day is a day to celebrate the work of museum professionals. The objective of this day is to raise awareness of the importance of museum collections and the research based on these collections. On Wednesday 18 May, the National Museum is opening the Cultural History and Anthropology Collections and the Palaeontology Laboratory to the public.
The Cultural History Collection portrays mainly the history of the Free State. Although there is material dating back to the seventeenth century, the major part of the collection consists of material from the nineteenth century. The collection includes ceramics, documents, furniture, photographs, household articles, clothes, coins, toys, weapons and objects used for transportation. The Anthropology Collection consists of artefacts originating mainly from southern Africa, but also contains selected items from further north such as African masks and African musical instruments.
Palaeontological research at the museum is based mainly on fossils of mammal ancestors that lived in what is now the Karoo, between 260 and 180 million years ago. The Karoo Basin contains the best fossil record of mammal ancestors in the whole world, giving scientists here the opportunity to study the transition into mammals and the biology and ecology of these animals. To study any fossil, one first needs to extract it from the surrounding rock. The National Museum has highly skilled preparators who remove the rock and visitors will be able to see them in action during this open day.
The National Museum is proud of its high standard of care of the collections and high standard of research undertaken there. They invite the public to visit these two departments on 18 May. The National Museum is situated at 36 Aliwal Street, Bloemfontein. The two-hour tour starts at 14:30. Entrance for this day is free, but booking is essential. Please call 051-447-9609 or e-mail shop@nasmus.co.za.