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Museums in Johannesburg

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Dar Al Madinah Urban Museum
It is the first museum specialized in the history and urban and the built heritage of Al Madinah. The museum showcases the Islamic heritage and culture, as well as the city’s magnificent and substantial history since the Prophet’s first arrival in Al Madinah to the present day.
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Mummification Museum
Luxor Museum of Mummification is without question a real Must-See Luxor attraction that essentially showcases the ancient and fascinating art of mummification. The Luxor Museum of mummification is exactly what it says it is: a museum that is dedicated to the subject of mummification. Visitors arriving in Luxor can find the museum facing the Nile River on Luxor West Bank, just a short distance north of the infamous Luxor Temple. Many visitors to the city would agree that you haven’t really experienced ancient Egypt if you haven’t visited the remarkable and incredibly interesting Luxor museum of mummification. The museum occupies what was previously a modern visitor centre, and many visitors are surprised when they discover just how big the museum actually is. As it stands today, it covers an area of just over 2,000 square meters, and within that area, visitors will find the main artefacts room; a lecture hall, a video room and a cafeteria. The Luxor Museum of mummification has done a spectacular job at showcasing the ancient art of Egyptian mummification, and today visitors can see a large collection of mummification related items on display, along with several mummified animals and even the mummy of Masaherta that is believed to be more than three thousand years old.
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Luxor Museum
The Luxor Museum is nowhere near as big as the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, but it was never meant to be, choosing instead to display quality rather than quantity. The Museum of Luxor is located more or less right in the centre of Luxor, overlooking the Luxor west bank of the Nile River. Visitors who intend to visit the museum in shouldn’t expect to see anything along the lines of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo because the two places are quite literally worlds apart. While the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo is host to the world’s largest collection of Egyptian antiquities, Luxor Museum only has a relatively small collection, but it’s definitely worth visiting. When the museum was originally opened in 1975 there were no plans to house a massive collection of artefacts. Instead, the museum has a sort of “quality before quantity” policy.
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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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National Museum
One of the top attractions in the Maldives is the National Museum in Malé. Located in the Sultan Park, which was once a part of the site of the 17th century Maldivian Royal Palace compound, the three-story museum was established in the early 1950s with the purpose of preserving the culture and history of the country and instilling patriotism among the people of the Maldives. The museum is home to an extensive collection of historical artifacts that depict the history and rich cultural heritage of the country, ranging from ancient stone objects to fragments of royal antiquities dating back to the Buddhist era and the rule of Islamic monarchs. The National Museum complex is comprised of two large buildings separated by Sultan’s Park in the old palace grounds across from the gold-domed Islamic Centre on Medhu Ziyaarai Magu, also known as Grand Friday Mosque. The National Museum houses a collection of incredible artifacts and relics from the foregone pre-Islamic period era, including ceremonial robes, headgear, thrones, palanquins, royal sunshades and furniture used by Sultans. The museum also exhibits the first printing press used in the country, the rifle used by Mohamed Thakurufaanu in his fight against the Portuguese in the 16th century, and other figures dating from 11th century, excavated from former temples. There is also an impressive display of age-old cannons, broken pieces of Buddhist and Hindu idols, images of political events, stunning lacquer work boxes, and a replica of the pen that was used to sign the ‘Declaration of Independence’ from the British Empire.
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Sultan Park & National Museum
Visit The National Museum, located inside Sultan Park, which is on the island of Male. The park is situated where the Royal Palace once stood. The museum is housed in the only remaining building of the Royal Palace. A comprehensive collection of royal artifacts is on display: among the noteworthy pieces are several thrones, ceremonial parasols, sedan chairs and some boxes with intricate lacquer designs. There are many statues and other pieces gathered from around the country: statues of monkeys, Buddha heads, Bohomala sculptures, divine figurines, etc. The museum building also houses the National Library and an exhibition space that is regularly used to display Maldivian art. Sultan Park is also a symbol of Maldivian history. It once played an integral role in the lives of the local people as a popular leisure park. The scenic lawns featured tropical plants, ponds with lilies and large shady trees but are rarely visited by locals today. Two imposing iron gates grant entrance to the park, opposite the Islamic Centre on Medhuziyaaraiy Magu.
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Mini Egypt Park
A miniature park is an open space that displays miniature buildings and models. Mini Egypt Park offers a totally different experience compared to a traditional museum.
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Sand City Hurghada
One and only Open air and Sand Sculptures Museum in Africa and Middle East, Sand City Hurghada, made of 42 sculptures and 17 relief by artist from different countries who left a peace of hart and soul in their work.
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Museum of Islamic Art
xperience 14 centuries of great art in a few hours. The MIA’s magnificent and imaginatively presented displays of the finest art and artefacts from across the Islamic world have earned it recognition among the world’s top cultural institutions.
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The Egyptian Museum
It may not be the oldest museum exhibiting Egyptian antiquities, but the Egyptian Museum holds the most: over 150,000 pieces are on display, with an incredible 30,000 more stocked away. After an initial ID check at the Egyptian Museum’s entrance just off of Tahrir Square, there is a bag check at the main gates. Once you have acquired your ticket, there is yet another queue for ticket checks, before you enter through the museum doors, upon which you are subjected to another electronic sensor. Despite the museum’s website claims, you are not allowed to bring a camera in under any circumstances. Upon entering the museum, you will feel like a rogue archaeologist that has stumbled on a tomb of treasures. You are immediately confronted by three routes. Taking a left will start you off on the chronological route through Egyptian history. Once you’ve figured out the slightly confusing numbering, room fourteen is a secret little pleasure and a must-see. Guarded by statues on either side of its entrance, the room is built like a temple. Steles are used to cover the walls, as a huge, inscribed pillar seems to hold up the ceiling of the museum itself.
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Qasr Al Hosn
Qasr Al Hosn is the oldest and most significant building in Abu Dhabi, holding the city’s first permanent structure; the watchtower. Built around the 1790’s, the commanding structure overlooked the coastal trade routes and protected the growing settlement established on the island. Qasr Al Hosn comprises of two major iconic buildings: the Inner Fort (originally constructed in 1795) and the Outer Palace (1939-45). Over the centuries, it has been home to the ruling family, the seat of government, a consultative council and a national archive; it now stands as the nation’s living memorial and the narrator of Abu Dhabi’s history. Transformed into a museum in 2018 following more than eleven years of intensive conservation and restoration work, Qasr Al Hosn is a national monument that encapsulates the development of Abu Dhabi from a settlement reliant on fishing and pearling in the 18th century, to a modern, global metropolis, with displays of artefacts and archival materials dating back to as far as 6000 BC.
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Louvre Abu Dhabi
The iconic Louvre Abu Dhabi is the first universal museum in the Arab World that translates the spirit of openness of cultures. As one of the premier cultural institutions located in the heart of the Saadiyat Cultural District, the art-lovers dream displays the works of historical, cultural and sociological significance from ancient times to the contemporary era. Designed by Pritzker-prize winning architect Jean Nouvel, the Louvre Abu Dhabi encompasses 9,200 sq. m of galleries including the Permanent Gallery and a Temporary Gallery that is enriched by loans from many notable French museums including Musee du Louvre, Musee d'Orsay, and Centre Pompidou. Recreating parts of UAE’s integral cultural elements, Nouvel designed a falaj-inspired water system running through the museum, inspired by ancient Arabian engineering whilst the orderly lace dome borrows inspiration from the interlaced palm leaves traditionally used as roofing material in many parts of the country that results in an enchanting play of light. The juxtaposition of different civilizations in the same spaces, the Louvre Abu Dhabi illustrates similarities and exchanges from the shared human experience going beyond geography, nationality, and history.
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Qasr Al Muwaiji
Qasr Al Muwaiji was home to generations of the Al Nahyan family and saw the birth of Sheikh Khalifa in 1948. The UNESCO World Heritage Site functioned not only as a home and an oasis in the desert but also as a place of rule and a focus for the community. The architectural gem now offers its visitors a variety of historical and traditional experiences associated with the venue, including oral narrations of the significant moments of Sheikh Khalifa’s life from his early childhood, leadership and vast national achievements.