Take a step back in time in local museum


Aiding viewers to take a step back in history and communicate visually in a way not possible through other media, the National Museum in Bloemfontein continues to open its doors as one of the longest-standing museums in the city.

The National Museum is host to the famous 260 000-year-old Florisbad Skull fragment which was found in 1932, according to Marelie van Rensburg (Senior Museum Designer/Artist).

“This was found at the Florisbad research facilities near Soutpan. We also host the only Melonosaurus skull in the world in our displays and the First Raadsaal Museum, in St Georges Street, is the oldest building in Bloemfontein and hosts a historical display,” said Van Rensburg.

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Furthermore, Van Rensburg explained the museum still targets a constant collection of specimens/items to be all-inclusive. The museum focuses its interests not just on adults but on children. “The Museum supports the school curriculum with targeted lessons for school learners. We show the children the various displays such as the life-size model of an African elephant which is one of our largest objects in the Museum. The dinosaurs remain the most exciting for the children,” said Van Rensburg. Furthermore, Van Rensburg explained that the museum is a research station that accumulates new information the whole time.

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The Museum educators work that information into their curriculum-based lessons.

Van Rensburg said not one day is the same. “You learn something new every day from our in-house scientists and researchers, or just a new skill set while looking after the permanent exhibitions.” Keeping up with the times, social media has also played a role in engaging many – especially during the nationwide lockdown. “Social media has helped to extend our patron engagement beyond a physical visit, case in point when the Museum was closed for Covid. “We could still engage our patrons with photos and virtual tours. For our disabled patrons, we have started combining our exhibitions with sound and touch items, Braille, and 3D printed objects,” said Van Rensburg.

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Looking for some things to look out for, Van Rensburg mentioned that there are musical instruments, a Venda iron-smelting furnace, a Sesotho blanket, and an Anaconda skin, to name a few. Visit the museum and take a step back in time at 36 Aliwal Street.

Bonolo Moloi