Why this theme? “Museums and Tourism” encourages museum professionals and volunteers to work together with local visitors and foreign tourists, creating interactions with local communities in order to experience heritage both inside and outside of the museum walls. On or around 18 May every year, thousands of museums on all continents, celebrate International Museum Day. The Theme for his year is: “Museums & Tourism”. –

Why this theme? “Museums and Tourism” encourages museum professionals and volunteers to work together with local visitors and foreign tourists, creating interactions with local communities in order to experience heritage both inside and outside of the museum walls.

What is International Museum Day about?
The International Council of Museums (ICOM) created International Museum Day in 1977 to encourage awareness about the role of museums in the development of society? International Museum Day has grown ever since, with more than 20 000 museums in 90 countries from Australia to South Africa taking part in 2008.

What is the definition of a Museum?
A museum is defined as a “non-profit making permanent institution in the service of society, and for its development, open to the public which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits, for the purpose of study, education and enjoyment the tangible and intangible evidence of people and their environment”.

Heritage Sites

Heritage Objects:
Our Heritage defines our identity. Part of what makes us human is the ability to manipulate our environment and create objects from natural and artificial materials.

Our World Heritage sites:

Robben Island

Richtersveld in the Northern Cape

Cradle of Humankind sites – Gauteng

St. Lucia Wetlands Park in Kwa-Zulu Natal

Drakensberg in Kwa-Zulu Natal

Mapungubwe in Limpopo

Cape Floral region – Western Cape

Vredefort Dome – Free State

What is the definition of Tourism?

“Tourism is the movement of people from the place where they are staying to another destination where an economic activity takes place”.

The natural and cultural resources of the Garden Route present ideal relaxing/exploring/fun/educational opportunities to national and international tourists.

Museums and historical buildings are definitely tourist attractions.

Let us focus on a few museums, buildings and some tourist attractions in towns around us. Let us start with George.

GEORGE: (named after the reigning king of England, Kind George III)

George Museum: Built as the Drostdy in 1813. In 1831 it became private property to a succession of owners. In time it became a boarding house and then the famous Hotel Victoria. In 1976 it became the George Museum.

The main theme is the “Indigenous Wood- and Timber Industry of the Southern Cape”. (In 2011 George will be 200 years old.)

The Outeniqua Transport Museum with the Outeniqua Power Van and the Model Train room.

Slave Tree! In front of the Tourism office in York Street. (Legend)

The Dutch Reformed Mother Church built in 1842. The church was built in a cross and has a magnificent yellowwood ceiling and a solid stinkwood pulpit.

The Botanical Gardens in Caledon Street.

The “Map of Africa” – Wilderness Heights.

Montagu-Pass built in 1848.

George is known for its indigenous forests and plantations, but also for the cultivation of 55% of South Africa’s HOPS.

Pacaltsdorp: It started as a mission station by the London Missionary Society in 1813 when Reverend Charles Pacalt was sent to Hoogekraal as it was known then. Their meeting place was under a tree – a Big Ash tree – which is still there to see.

The Stone Church in Pacaltsdorp was built in 1825.

Patathuisie: Old (now renovated) house that Pacalt used to live in.


Great Brak River is a historical town between George and Mossel Bay, founded in 1859 when the Searle-family arrived here. The museum depicts the history of this village.

Great Brak River has the biggest known Pepper Tree in South Africa (11,2 m in diameter) situated behind “Bargain Shop” at the bottom of Mossienes Avenue.

The Watson Shoe Factory is also a landmark of this town and is well known world wide.

MOSSEL BAY (Also known as the Historical Capital of the Garden Route)

The Dias Museum Complex consists of a Granary which was built in 1786 by the Dutch East India Company. This building is a reconstruction of the original building. The Maritime Museum (Replica of the Caravel), the Shell Museum and Aquarium, a Braille route in the gardens and the Post Office Tree – believed to be the first “Post Office” in South Africa.

The “Cape St. Blaize Cave” where Middle and Late Stone age artefacts were dug up. (Mossel Bay Industry).

The “Cape St. Blaize Light house”, dating back to 1864.

KNYSNA (Known for its oysters)

The Millwood Museum consists of the Millwood House (1880’s), the Parkes house and shop and in the Old Gaol building an Angling museum is housed.

The grave of George Rex, (1765 – 1839) “the founder of Knysna”.

The old stone Fort, built during the Anglo Boer War (1899 – 1902). It was never used.

The original St. George’s Church completed in 1855.

ALBERTINIA (Known for Aloe industry)

Albertinia Museum: Depicts the social history of the town.

Historical buildings: Hotel (109 years old), Municipal buildings and Town hall.

Aloe factories – probably the only factories of this kind in South Africa.

OUDTSHOORN (Also known as the feather capital of the world)

The C.P. Nel Museum in Baron van Reede Street and the Le Roux Town house in High Street. (Oudtshoorn was established in 1847 on the farm “Hartebeesten River” and named after a granddaughter of Pieter van Reede van Oudtshoorn – Governor of the Cape Colony, 1714 – 1773.)

Oudtshoorn is synonymous with ostriches and ostrich farming.

“Arbeidsgenot” museum: House of the late C.J. Langenhoven.

Cango Caves: The 1600 m long caves were declared a Provincial Heritage site in 1938 and are one of the 10 most visited attractions in South Africa.


The Great Trek (1838) Museum: Depicts diorama’s of the daily life of “The Voortrekkers”.

Photos: The George Museum – in 1880 when it was a Drostdy and today.



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