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Museums in Cape Town

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South Africa
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Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa
Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) is a public not-for-profit contemporary art museum that collects, preserves, researches and exhibits 21st-century art from Africa and its diaspora; hosts international exhibitions; develops supporting educational and enrichment programmes; encourages intercultural understanding, and guarantees access for all. The galleries, spread over several floors, are dedicated to a large cutting-edge collection gallery; exhibition galleries; and Centres for Art Education, Curatorial Training, Performative Practice, Photography, and the Moving Image.
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Robben Island Museum
Robben Island is famous, or rather infamous, as the holding place for the imprisoned Nelson Mandela. Mandela served 18 of his 27 years in prison incarcerated on the island’s prison, but Robben Island has also housed a hospital, mental institution, leper colony and military base during its rich history.
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Apartheid Museum
The Apartheid Museum is the story of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity and oppression. Beginning in 1948, the white elected National Party government initiated a process that turned more than 20 million people into 2nd class citizens, damning them to a life of servitude, humiliation and abuse. Their liberation in 1994 was the climax of a nation’s resistance, courage and fortitude. The path through the museum leads you on a journey beginning with segregation, the cornerstone of apartheid. It takes you back through the history of the myriad cultures converging during the pre-apartheid era, through the years of race classification, the 150 acts of apartheid, detentions and the oppression of the nationalist regime. You will examine the rise of black consciousness and the armed struggle, and finally witness the release of Nelson Mandela after 27 years of imprisonment which led to the negotiations for peace.
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Absa Museum
As the only banking and money museum in South Africa, it is the custodian, not only of South Africa’s banking history, but also of the economic, political, and social changes that are often so dramatically reflected in these currencies
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Constitution Hill
Constitution Hill represents South Africa’s dark past and its bright post-apartheid future. Johannesburg’s most notorious historic prisons (all of them now museums) sit side by side with the home of the Constitutional Court, a symbol of South Africa’s triumphant democracy. The site is located on the ridge between two city neighbourhoods, Hillbrow and Braamfontein, overlooking central Johannesburg, and is one of the most important tourist attractions in South Africa. In the old prison blocks visitors can learn more about South Africa’s difficult path towards freedom and democracy from the extensive permanent museum exhibitions that include personal testimonies from former prisoners and warders and installations. There are also a number of guided tours of the complex which give further insight into the the significance of this heritage landmark and a small cafe called The Hill is open for refreshments once you have finished exploring.
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Adler Museum of Medicine
The Adler Museum of Medicine preserves the history of the health sciences in Southern Africa, with special reference to Gauteng. It supplements the educational activities of the University, especially the Health Sciences, by means of collections, research, teaching, exhibitions and publications. The Museum contains interesting and invaluable collections depicting the history of medicine, dentistry and pharmacy through the ages. Apart from the hundreds of items of medical historical interest on display, there are also documents, sculptures, pictures, videos and philatelic and medallion collections relating to medical history as well as the history of allied health sciences. The Museum has a library of rare books and a significant history of medicine reference library. In addition, a rich archive arranged by subject matter is housed in the library, and biographical information relating to thousands of medical and allied health professionals is available to students, researchers and interested members of the public.
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BERGTHEIL MUSEUM
Named after Jonas Bergtheil, this museum is situated in the leafy suburb of Westville, almost midway between Durban and Pinetown. The museum is housed in Westville’s oldest building (c.1840) featuring massive stone walls and hand-hewn timber floorboards.
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The Kruger House Museum
The last house in which President Paul Kruger was to live, between 1883 and 1901, before he left South Africa to go into exile in Europe, the Kruger House Museum lies just a few blocks from Church square, where his bronze statue takes centre stage facing the Palace of Justice.
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Bulawayo National Art Gallery
Housed in one of the country’s finest monuments, the National Gallery in Bulawayo is a unique facility, which holds invigorating and challenging exhibitions. Douslin House where the Gallery is housed in more than 100 years today. Its architectural splendor makes evident the gallery’s own goal of aesthetic appreciation and artistic aim. As custodians of a growing Zimbabwean heritage, Art Gallery is tasked with the creative and intellectual discipline to select, to nurture and commend outstanding works of visual art, to select and display pivotal works, to generate and improve upon existing talent, to train and develop artistic skills, to educate, to empower, to mediate, and mostly to celebrate. Freed from some of the influences and concerns, which dominate other provinces in Zimbabwe, the unique thrust of the National Gallery in Bulawayo is its desire to dissolve barriers between art and its audience, to establish a consistent dialogue and intimacy. The personality of this gallery is embodied in its transparent windows in the Lower Gallery, which allow passers-by to view current exhibitions while going on about their daily business.
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Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe
The Natural Museum of Zimbabwe located in the Centenary Park in Bulawayo, was built in 1962, and in 1982 all the natural science collections were moved here and it was renamed the Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe. With its stunning displays and valuable research, collections are the best museum in Southern Africa and rank fourth in size among the museums of Africa. It is an impressive circular building with nine public display galleries, a lecture hall with a seating capacity of 120 people, a cafeteria, and eight research departments with substantial study collections and ongoing research in the following disciplines: Arachnology and Invertebrates; Entomology; Ornithology; Mammology; Herpetology; Ichthyology; Geology and Paleontology; Archaeology and Monuments.
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Museu Nacional de Antropologia
Dedicated to educating people about the history and culture of Angola, the National Museum of Anthropology has a collection of over 6,000 objects and artefacts, ranging from arts, masks, musical instruments, tools, fabrics, jewelry and weaponry. There are also cultural exhibits on traditional religion, female societal rites, and other traditional ceremonies.
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Saint Michael's Fortress
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, Säo Miguel fort was built in 1576 by Paulo Dias de Novais who founded the city of Luanda. In 1627, the fort became the administrative colony and was a major outlet for slave traffic to Brazil. With thick walls fitted with cannons, it was a fortified enclosure, and it remained the headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief of the Portuguese Army in Angola until 1975. The fort presently houses the National Museum of Military History.
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Dar National Museum
The Dar es Salaam National Museum is a site that showcases the history of Tanzania and is located at the centre of Dar es Salaam's CBD - Tanzania. It is the oldest in the country and has three large buildings. The museum was first established in 1934 by then governor of Tanganyika Harold MacMichael [1] but was not opened to the public until 1940. Since then two more buildings have been added, with the last one being the culture wing in 2011. Find out more about the history of Tanzania from as early as the 6th century or even earlier if you consider the displays about the origin of mankind; However, most of the actual information is on stories and not in the actual pictures. There are no video or audio explanations, thus a lot of reading is required to gain any information, unless of course if you got a guided tour. There also are two libraries near the entrance, one for children and one for adults. Each of these is equipped with tablets from which to browse the library's archives.
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Village Museum
Kijiji cha Makumbusho - No one interested in the local culture should miss out on this museum. Open-air display of traditional habitats and crafts. The Village Museum was established in 1996. This museum was established for the purpose of demonstrating and preservation of traditional cultures of Tanzania. Visiting the village museum is like visiting the whole of Tanzania ethnic groups. The museum displays traditional huts of about 16 different Tanzanian ethnic groups. The idea of a ‘village museum’ seems a curious paradox ­is it a village, or is it a museum? Perhaps it is neither in the conventional sense. It is certainly not a living village, but rather a collection of authentically furnished homesteads representing some of Tanzania’s many different rural cultures. Nor is it a museum in the traditional sense (there is not a glass case to be seen). All 16 houses can be entered, and there are plenty of objects to see and handle. The Kiswahili word ‘makumbusho’, ‘reminders’, is more apt here than the English ‘museum, with its classical muse associations. Herein lies not only the unique charm of the place but also the real importance of the site.
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Kenya Railway Museum
Kenya Railway Museum (Nairobi Railway Museum) is located in an old railway building along Uhuru Highway. It provides answers to many unanswered questions concerning the early history of the rail and Kenya’s development. Nairobi Railway museum consists of the Main Gallery, the Resource Center, the auditorium and an outdoor collection of locomotives, wagons and coaches.
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Lamu Museums
Lamu Museums are located in the North Coast, a World Heritage Site and one of the most beautiful & serene locations on the African continent. Museum attractions include the Lamu Museum, Lamu Fort, German Post Office, Swahili House and the Takwa Ruins.
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Nairobi National Museum
The Museum aims to interpret Kenya’s rich heritage and offers a one stop for visitors to sample the country’s rich heritage both for education and leisure. In addition to the museum, visitors are treated to a variety of shopping and dining facilities, as well as botanical gardens that offer a serene environment.
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Terra Kulture
There is only one institution that can pride itself as Nigeria’s Cultural Centre. And that’s none other than the inimitable Terra Kulture – the arts, entertainment and educational hub that has been at the fore-front of redefining Nigeria’s cultural landscape over the last decade.
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Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum
This magnificent monument on High Street was erected in honour of Ghana’s first President, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, a great Pan-Africanist who led the country to Independence in 1957. T
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Ghana National Museum
It was officially opened by the Duchess of Kent during the Independence celebration in March, 1957. Located on Barnes Road, close to the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, the National Museum is the repository of the country’s historical and cultural treasures, as well as artifacts from other ancient African Empires. The collections range from prehistoric, archaeological discoveries to colonial antiquities and exhibits of contemporary African Art.
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Musee Municipal d'Art Contemporai
The museum is an initiative of the city council of Cocody, which was started in November 1993. Featuring a permanent exhibition of modern and contemporary works by Ivorian and other African artistes, the museum’s collection has over 150 paintings, 40 sculptural pieces, 15 ceramics, 11 tapestries and 216 books.
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Musee National
A decent little museum located centrally in the Le Plateau region, with a special focus on Ivorian art. Exhibits include; beautiful human and animal statuettes made of terracotta, jewelry, pottery, indigenous musical instruments, wooden masks and other carvings from all parts of the country.
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Sudan National Museum
Sudanese Museum is one of the main attractions of Sudan. The National Museum of Sudan is the largest museum in Sudan. Located on El Neel Avenue in Khartoum, the museum contains works from different epochs of Sudanese history.
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Khalifa House Museum
The museum is located near The Mahdi’s tomb in Omdurman. The house was built for the successor of the Mahdi. The museum was established in 1928 and contains antiquities of the Mahdist period.
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National Railway Museum
It is interesting to tour around the restored engines and cars of the amazing National Railway Museum. You don’t have to be a rail lover to catch the fun of Clinetown museums, where there is a great collection of restored locomotives, including one for the Queen of England in year 1961.
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Tank Graveyard
Although not an official tourist spot, the Tank Graveyard is a large patch of overgrown land just outside Asmara containing military tanks, armored vehicles and other metal tokens of war which were abandoned by the fleeing Ethiopian forces.
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Reserva da Jaqueira
Are you travelling, but would like to have a totally different experience? Therefore, the 800 hectares of native forest and the hollows distributed throughout the Reserva da Jaqueira will impress you! The entire village is still built similarly to the original and colonial times. And you don't have to worry about anything! After all, this Indian village in Porto Seguro is fully committed to the goal of sustainable development. Therefore, tourists are very welcome and have the chance to admire celebrations, celebrations and Indians dressed in character. In addition, you can even take a risk in the practice of archery, buy handicrafts made in the tribe and participate in ecological trails. It does not stop there! The integration with the Pataxó Indians in Porto Seguro also includes the participation of rituals, body painting and the taste of typical gastronomy. Did you like the idea? So, this text was made entirely for you. Check out all the information to discover the Reserva da Jaqueira, try the fish baked in the leaf of the patio and even spend the night in the village. It's a very interesting program, isn't it? And all of this is at a very reasonable distance from the city!
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Caixa Cultural Museum
Nice architectural eclectic model from the beginning of the XX century. It has housed, for a long time, the stock market of Pernambuco and Paraíba. It has recently been restored and, nowadays, is a cultural center.
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The Museum of Folklore
The Museum of Folklore of São José dos Campos is a cultural space of the Cultural Foundation Cassiano Ricardo (FCCR) that works under the management of the Center for Studies of Popular Culture (CECP), through an agreement signed between the parties.
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Afro Brasil Museum
The Afro Brasil Museum is a public institution under the Secretary of Culture of the State of São Paulo and administered by the Afro Brasil Museum Association - Social Organization of Culture. Located in Padre Manoel da Nóbrega Pavilion, within the most famous Park of São Paulo, Ibirapuera Park, the Museum preserves, in 11 thousand m2 a collection with more than 6 thousand works, including paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs, documents and pieces. ethnological works by Brazilian and foreign authors, produced between the eighteenth century and today. The collection encompasses several aspects of the African and Afro-Brazilian cultural universes, addressing themes such as religion, work, art, slavery, among other themes in recording the historical trajectory and African influences in the construction of Brazilian society.
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Pinacoteca
Beautiful visual arts museum specialized on brazilian artists of the last 200 years. Located on the Liceu de Artes e Ofícios de São Paulo building, the Pinacoteca was open in 1905 and is the oldest art museum in the city of São Paulo. Its art collection has approximately 1900 artistic, bibliographic and archival items. The art gallery displays works such as São Paulo by Tarsila do Amaral and Mestizo by Candido Portinari. In recent years, the museum received important exhibitions, such as Ron Mueck, seen by 402 thousand people. Listed as a historic site, the Parque da Luz and the museum’s garden displays about 50 sculptures of contemporary artists, such as Victor Brecheret Lasar Segall and Amílcar de Castro.
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Portuguese Language Museum
To appreciate the diversity of the portuguese language, to celebrate it as a paramount and founding element of our culture and to bring it closer to its speakers worldwide.The Museu da Língua Portuguesa was born aiming at this target. The inauguration took place on March the 20th , 2006. The chosen location to accommodate the Museum was the Estação da Luz, situated in the heart of São Paulo – city with the largest Portuguese-speaking population in the world – and a site of historical importance to the state capital and to Brazil. The station was one of the main crossing points for immigrants arriving in the country and, to this day, a dynamic place that provides contact and interaction among several cultures and social classes, sheltering accents from all parts of Brazil. During almost 10 years of its operation, the Museu da Língua Portuguesa welcomed 3.931.040 visitors, who have lived the experience of connecting themselves even more with the language, its origins, its history, its influences and the variations it takes within the population’s everyday life.
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Museum of Art of Sao Paulo
The Museu de Arte de São Paulo (Masp) was born in 1968, idealized by the journalist Assis Chateaubriand and directed by the marchand Pietro Maria Bardi. Masp was designed by the architect Lina Bo Bardi and erected to overlook São Paulo’s downtown area and the Serra da Cantareira. The building has a rectangular shape, suspended by four columns with a gap of 74m between them, open as a plaza and used by residents and tourists. Masp’s mission is to serve education, and the museum is very active in the cultural scene of the city, offering common spaces for its residents, like the library, mezzanine and auditorium. Masp also hosts educational projects. The main objective is for people to experience art.
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Museu do Futebol
The Soccer Museum, open in 2008, was created to celebrate the sport that Brazilians are passionate about. The Museum is located in the Pacaembu Stadium, one of the best-known stadiums of São Paulo and fascinates even those who are not entirely a fan. Build in an area of 6,900 m ², the Museum will provide an amazing audiovisual experience. At the Museum, the sport’s history is shown through 18 thematic rooms, 1,500 photographs, 5 hours of videos and other materials. For those who already love soccer, the Museum is a must-see on your trip to Sampa. For those who do not have much interest in the sport, the Museum can completely change your mind once you get to know its space and feel the emotion it transmits in every carefully planned detail.
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Juan Carlos Castagnino Municipal Art Museum
Around the middle of 1980, the old summer house belonging to the traditional family Ortíz Basualdo became the head office of the Juan Carlos Castagnino Municipal Art Museum. The magnificent village, today cultural heritage of the City of Mar del Plata, is located on the Stella Maris hill and surrounds the building designed by architects Louis Dubois and Paul Paters. It was built by the Basualdos in 1909 and remodelled in 1919, but keeping its classical style from the early 20th century. The building is reminiscent of the French Castles from Loira, which is reflected in each room, decorated by the Belgian designer Gustave Serruier-Bovy, who stamped his own art nouveau style on them.