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Lydenburg Museum
Mashishing (Lydenburg), Mpumalanga



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25°06'12.78" S 30°29'11.36" E Alt: 1502m

3km outside Lydenburg on the Sabie Road [R37].

The museum is open weekdays from 08:00-16:00 and weekends from 08:00-17:00.
Telephone no. is 013 235 7300 - ask for museum.

A modern museum with the theme: Cultural-historical, archaeological and ethnography (Pedi).

The Lydenburg Museum is situated in the Gustav Klingbiel Nature Reserve, which conserve a variety of antelope, small mammals and birds on typical middleveld grasslands.

The museum features some excellent exhibits of early human occupation of the area, the most notable being the Lydenburg heads. Displays featuring early gold mining and military history, along with many cultural exhibits, are also of great importance.



In the 1930's the enthusiastic members of the "Lydenburg se Afrikaanse Kultuurvereniging" started collecting with the aim to start a museum. The main force behind the idea came from Mr Lehman and a history teacher, Mr Vlotman. They received some valuable objects that had belonged to the State President of the ZAR, S.W. Burger, from his widow, Mrs. A Burger.

The first formal museum committee was founded in November 1961 the chairman being Mr. Nic Schoeman. Although they did collect a few valuable items, the committee ended their work by the end of 1964.

As soon as the Transvaal Museum Service came into existence in 1971, the Lydenburg Town Council applied for affiliation. On the 15th of November 1972 their request was accepted and the three themes of cultural history, archaeology and the Pedi were assigned to the museum.

The old council hall, next to the library was to be used as a museum. The exhibition cases were designed by Udo Kusel and were completed in 1975. The first permanent curator was appointed on the first of August 1977. As the collection at that time consisted of merely 400 objects, the curator, Mrs. Etta Judson, immediately started collecting and planning an exhibition for the completed cases.

The planning of the exhibition was completed in 1978 with the assistance of Joehan Erasmus of Museum Services. The exhibition was opened on the first of May 1979 by Mr. D.S. van der Merwe Brink. A new building was planned by Erich Jessnitz of Museum Services, to be built in the Gustav Klingbiel Nature Reserve. Building started in 1983.

The new building was built in stages and completed in 1990. The new exhibition, planned by third curator, Mrs. Alta Kriel, and Museum Services, was completed on 28 November 1991. The exhibition was installed in three stages – the first of which in December 1990, coinciding with the moving of the museum curator's office to the new building.

The museum complex has an auditorium, with room for 46 people. A curio shop/tearoom is also included in the building. Two large store rooms and a workroom, apart from walk-in safe, houses the collection currently not on exhibition. Plans for a restaurant, to be built next to the existing complex, are being discussed.

As already mentioned, the museum is situated in the Gustav Klingbiel Nature Reserve. The reserve has hiking trails, including an overnight hut. The museum is situated on the road to Sabie – the Long Tom Pass – and is on the main tourist route to the Lowveld and the Kruger National Park.

Marketing has included the presenting of a Valentines Dance at the museum, to welcome the locals to their new museum, in 1991. A poster competition was held on International Museum Day. The museum was briefly on television on 50/50, when a programme on one of the hiking trails was made. Letters were written to 27 tour bus companies, telling them about the new museum.

Currently (2012) we receive about 440 visitors each month, and about 650 in December. School groups, some of which are organised by Sabie School Journey Services, make up a large part of this number. These school groups are given a tour of the museum and are then either taken to the old Voortrekker School and Church or to Archaeological remains inside the Nature Reserve by the curator on request.

A school week is planned annually by the Sabie School Journey Service when they visit the Museum. Schools in the immediate vicinity are also encouraged to spend the day touring Lydenburg and its museum.

(Submitted by the Curator of the Museum, J Celliers - April 2012)

All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.