N E W S FROM
Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex
, South Africa, Mossel Bay
News from South African Historical Capital!
...by John Thackray
The Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex on the south coast of South Africa consists of 4 museums and 7 National Monuments (including the Old Post Office Tree), with Historical and Natural displays dating back to 1488. This was the year that the first documented historical records about human activity in South Africa were obtained.
TRANSFORMATION IN MUSEUMS
In line with changing trends and current demands in tourism in South Africa, the Dias Museum Complex is currently experiencing a refreshing transition period. The main area of the Museum grounds, just off the shores of Mossel Bay's most popular beach, is in the process of being fenced off and aesthetically modified. The valley between the Munro Cottages (c.1830) and the Museum buildings will be developed as an open-air museum with the indigenous gardens of wild olive and milkwood trees receiving more exposure. The current Granary building will serve as the main entrance to the Museum Complex and displays from the Local Cultural Museum will be housed here. Artifacts and information about the native Khoi-Khoi people will be prominently displayed in this state-of-the-art museum, along with history and information of this frontier town. The two other Museums will receive upgraded displays. The Shell Museum and Aquarium is scheduled to open the new "Man and Mollusk" display before the end of this year while the Maritime Museum plans to have new interactive sound effects installed on the 130-ton replica ship housed there. The ship has been displayed inside the Museum since its commemorative voyage to Mossel Bay from Portugal in 1988.
The Ethno-Botanical Garden and Braille Trail is as popular with visitors since its upgrade in 2001.
The Museum Coffee and Curio shops in the Maritime Museum have also recently received attention and are fully operational for the expected tourism boom starting next month.
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