Monday, August 1, 2011

Grahamstown Natural Science Museum

Like father, like son.  Chaos Boy has developed an interest in geography, the world, its wonders and its interesting bits and pieces like archaeology, legends and mysteries.  One night I was reading to him about Egypt (he chose the book, not me) and I told him that there is a real mummy in the Natural Science Museum in Grahamstown.  He has been nagging me ever since to take him and we finally had an opportunity during the winter school holidays. 

The original Albany Museum was established 1855, making it the second oldest museum in South Africa.  Over the years the Albany Museum has developed into a complex comprising five components of which the Natural Science Museum is only one of them.  The others are the History Museum, the Observatory Museum, the Provost Prison and Fort Selwyn.  The front of the core-block of the museum building as seen from the street was build between 1889 and 1902.  In 1941 a fire gutted the building, destroying much of the exhibition material, but the Museum was rebuilt and new exhibits constructed with specimens generously supplied by other museums in South Africa.

The museum's main theme covers the natural science and the natural history of the Eastern Cape and include earth sciences, archaeology, insects, birds, mammals, and plants.  A notable exhibit is a portion of one of the Gibeon meteorites which fell around Gibeon in Namibia approximately 600 million years ago.

Chaos Boy came into his element when we entered the dinosaur and fossil exhibition area.  The majority of the fossils here were found in the Eastern Cape and the exhibit includes a reconstruction of the first dinosaur discovered in South Africa, Stegosaur Paranthodon Africanus.  Another interesting part was the fact that there is a real life archaeologist working on real fossils who called us over and explained to us what he was doing.

But dinosaurs, meteors, stuffed birds and animals apart.  We came for one thing and (as it turned out much more and really not just) one thing only.  The mummy... and her cat.


  1. Incredible! Bradley would love this museum! I'm sure you will encourage his interest in all things 'earthy' - environmentally and historical - nice one Chaos Boy!

  2. This is a marvelous common interest for you and Chaos Boy. I'm glad to see young people wantng to learn about the world around them. This museum looks like a great place to explore. Sure hope to see more of the complex.

  3. Amazing...! The mummy was buried with her cat.

    I love looking at the photos on your blog. I was just admiring the Zulu baskets. Gorgeous...!