Ditsong Museums of South Africa
The Ditsong Museums of South Africa comprise of seven world-class museums, including the Pioneer Museum in Silverton. These museums capture not only our rich cultural heritage, but keep it intact for future generations to enjoy. Spanning from natural history, to military regalia and even a Victorian mansion, the Ditsong Museums are a must-visit for both Joburg and Pretoria residents. This Heritage Month, why not treat the kids to a visit to the Pioneer Musuem? It's a great place to start teaching them about the 'olden days' and how people used to live. Plus, you can enjoy a number of fun activities, including candle making, kneading homemade bread and feeding the farm's live animals.
The Pioneer Museum
The Pioneer Museum is situated in Pretoria East. It is open to the public only through booking, so make sure to call them before visiting! You can arrange a guided tour, as well as interactive activities for you and the kids. Or, book out their lapa for a family braai or get together.
This museum has a vast and interesting history. Dating back to the mid 1800s, the land has seen many owners come and go. It has also seen the gold rush in Johannesburg, silver mining and the expanse of a Victorian-style home. In 1874, David Botha, a Cape farmer, sold the Farm to Hans Mundt, a German immigrant. Botha built the original farmstead, adopting traditional Tswana techniques to build the floor from mud, cow dung and anthills.
However, it was Mundt's innovative farming techniques which helped develop the farm further. He capitalised on the ideal position of the farm in proximity to the discovery of gold at Lydenburg and Pilgrim’s Rest, building a halfway house for travelers to and from Pretoria. He also built a poultry coop to house his chickens!
At the turn of the century, miners discovered silver on the farm. The Silver Mining Company quickly snapped up a portion of the land, developing a Victorian house to replace the original sheds as accommodation. Sixty years later, the buildings on the farm were declared historical monuments. And, finally in 1975, the farm was officially declared a museum and opened to the public. The Pioneer Museum has now been under the custodianship of the Ditsong organisation since 2009.
The Pioneer open air museum features a traditional T-shaped house complete with thatched roof and traditional dung floor, as well as the restored Victorian homestead, farming implements and more. Visiting the museum gives you a real sense of what the early settler days were like in South Africa. To add to the experience, tour guides dress up in traditional garb. Watch as they demonstrate how to bake bread in a clay oven, make candles from animal fat and churn butter. You can participate in these activities, too, so make sure to come dressed accordingly!
Typical settler furniture and curios are also on display at the museum, including a coffee grinder, weaponry, beds and chairs. While you may not be able to take a seat or a nap on these old homely comforts, they give a heightened sense of just how far society has progressed since the 1800s. The kids will definitely leave with a renewed sense of gratitude for their iPads, smart phones and televisions.
The Pioneer Museum hosts an annual New Year's Day celebration, as well as a weekend farmers market. But, if you want the place just to yourself and the family, book out their hall or lapa over a weekend. Either way, you are sure to have an awesome time exploring the quirky features of this one-of-a-kind museum.
**Entrance costs R25 for children aged 7 - 18 years, and R40 per adult.
For more information
Visit their website for more information, or follow Ditsong Museums of SA on social media:
Facebook - facebook.com/DITSONGMuseumsSA
Twitter - twitter.com/hashtag/ditsong
Instagram - instagram.com/ditsongmuseumsa
Details: +27 12 492 5744 | [email protected] | Keuning Dr, Silverton, Pretoria, 0127.