Top Museums and Art Galleries to Visit

Posted on 30 November 2023 By Nomvelo Masango

South Africa has a rich history and a vibrant art scene. As such, it comes as no surprise that the country has some of the oldest and best museums and galleries.

It also goes without saying that the country’s different parts offer plenty to explore for history buffs and art lovers alike.

Apartheid Museum

If you are in search of an interesting and educational museum or art gallery experience, here are a few sites to visit.

Apartheid Museum

Picture: Wikimedia Commons

Apartheid Museum is one of South Africa’s most iconic museums as it illustrates the rise and fall of the country’s apartheid era.

If you seek to understand what apartheid was really like, a visit to the museum is beneficial. The historic site opened in 2001 and is an excellent example of space, design and landscape colliding to offer a unique South African experience.

At the museum, you can view the story of a state-sanctioned system based on racial discrimination. Exhibitions include provocative film footage, images as well as artifacts which all tell of human stories and events in the apartheid era.

 It also showcases how South Africa is still coming to terms with its oppressive past, while working towards a united country where all races can thrive.

Address: Northern Park Way and Gold Reef Rd, Johannesburg, 2001, South Africa

Contact Number: 011 309 4700

Evarard Read Gallery

Evarard Read is South Africa’s oldest art gallery and celebrated its centenary in 2013. Over the years, the gallery has been associated with some of Southern Africa’s most pre-eminent artists.

Located in Rosebank, the gallery showcases a number of paintings and sculptures by South Africa’s most talented, finest and contemporary artists. Part of the Evarard Read mission also includes developing the careers of young artists.

Evarard Read also has galleries in other parts of South Africa, namely Cape Town and Franschoek.

Address: 2 & 6 Jellicoe Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg.

Contact Number: 011 788 4805

South African Museum

Established in 1825, the South African Museum is the oldest museum in sub-Saharan Africa. It boasts a variety of collections, ranging from fossils to interesting insects and fish which were found quite recently. There are also Stone Age tools which are over 120 000 years old.

A visit to the museum will leave you with a better understanding of Southern Africa, as well as its past and present biographical and cultural diversity.

Address: 25 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town Central, Western Cape, South Africa.

Contact Number: 021 481 3800

Johannesburg Art Gallery

Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Janek Szymanowski

Located in Joubert Park, the Johannesburg Art Gallery is one of Africa’s largest galleries. It boasts over 9000 artworks and 15 exhibition halls.

At the gallery, you can expect to see a wide array of mediums including sculptures, paintings, photography and permanent collections. Its walls house the work of some of the world’s most incredible and popular artists including Picasso, Ernest Cole and Tracey Rose.

Address: Cnr Klein and King George St, Joubert Park, Braamfontein, Johannesburg

Contact Number: 011 375 5125

Kruger House

Kruger House is located just a block away from Pretoria’s iconic Market Square, and is a treasure trove of history.

The building was constructed in 1884 and stands as a testament to Victorian architecture with a unique twist. It holds intriguing artifacts from the era of Paul Kruger, offering insightful information about his life before his European exile.

The museum’s recent refurbishments preserve the authenticity of its unpretentious ambience and showcase memorabilia which is true to its original charm.

Address: 60 WF Nkomo Street, Pretoria

Contact Number: 012 000 0010

Nelson Mandela Capture Site

Nelson Mandela Capture Site

Operated by the Apartheid Museum, the Nelson Mandela Capture Site commemorates the arrest of struggle icon, Nelson Mandela, and his life spent behind bars.

Mandela was arrested on the 5th of August 1962 outside Howick. He then spent 27 years of his life in prison. This time in history is what the world renowned sculpture and visitor centre seeks to commemorate.

As such, a visit to the site is interesting and insightful, providing the necessary information on the late and iconic freedom fighter.

Address: R103 Howick, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Contact Number: 072 351 0967

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