Iziko South African Museum

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Iziko South Africa Museum.JPG

The Iziko South African Museum is a South African national museum which is located in Cape Town. The museum was founded in 1825, the first in the country. It has been on its present site in the Company's Garden since 1897. The museum houses important African zoology, palaeontology and archaeology collections.


The museum is organized on four levels and hosts a variety of exhibitions, from rock art to fossils, marine animals and meteorites.

Ground level[edit]

  • People past to present consisting of three separate exhibitions: The Power of Rock Art (on the ideas, knowledge and beliefs expressed in San rock art); African Cultures (material culture of Southern African hunter-gatherers and agriculturalists in historic times, as well as displays of material from Nguni people and Sotho–Tswana people, also collections from the Great Zimbabwe; Lydenburg Heads (artifacts from the early Iron Age, symbols of the ritual life of early agriculturalists in South Africa).
  • Karoo fossils dioramas of mammal-like reptiles (they look like dinosaurs but are not) that lived in the Karoo region 250 million years ago.
  • World of water depicting life in South Africa's oceans, comprises: Coelacanth (the caste of the first Coelacanth discovered in 1938, with information on the biology and evolutionary history of this "living fossil"); Ocean Giants (features the longest and heaviest species of bony fish and the largest of all invertebrates).
  • Whale well a unique collection of whale casts and skeletons, to be seen from all floors; includes a 20.5 metre blue whale skeleton. You can also listen to the song of the humpback whale.
  • Discovery room a "hands-on" experience of real specimens and activities that encourage learning through discovery.

Level 1[edit]

  • Sharkworld all about the diversity, biology and conservation of sharks, skates, rays, and chimeras. Includes massive megatooth shark jaws and an audiovisual centre.
  • Iziko planetarium an extraordinary audio-visual experience expounding the wonders of the universe. Monthly flyers on current productions are available at the museum's entrance.
  • Our place in the universe a display depicting a cosmic zoom to view the universe on an ever increasing scale, reaching back to almost the very beginning of the universe.
  • Meteorites features three large iron meteorites.

Level 2[edit]

  • Mammals mainly Southern African mammals, including a foal of the extinct quagga.
  • Birds Southern African and exotic birds, avian evolution, dioramas of waterbirds and seabirds.
  • Wonders of nature found on the mezzanine level overlooking the bird gallery. Features a selection of objects showing the beauty and diversity of natural form.
  • History of the SA Museum shows the history of the museum from its beginnings in 1825 to until 1975.
  • Mindspace on-line resource centre.
  • Indigenous knowledge an important part of South Africa's heritage. This exhibition is a window on indigenous ways of using natural resources.
  • There are also a collection of South African and foreign minerals, an exhibition on the biology of bats and a geological model of Table Mountain.

Level 3[edit]

  • Stone bones of the ancient Karoo focuses on 250 million year old mammal-like reptile (therapsids) fossils from the Karoo with reconstructions of what they might have looked like. Features the evolution of mammals from the therapsids, and the End-Premian Extinction- believed to be the biggest extinction event the Earth has ever experienced.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°55′44″S 18°24′54″E / 33.92889°S 18.41500°E / -33.92889; 18.41500