It was founded as the Staatsmuseum (Afrikaans for "State Museum") of the ZAR on the 1 December 1892, and J. W. B. Gunning was appointed as first director. The museum was located for the first two years in the Ou Raadsaal parliament building.
The Transvaal Museum curates large collections of Plio-Pleistocene fossils, (including hominids from Sterkfontein, Swartkrans and Kromdraai in the Cradle of Humankind), as well as late Permian therapsids (mammal-like reptiles from the Karoo). In addition the museum holds very large collections of mammals, birds, reptiles, and invertebrates (especially lepidoptera and coleoptera).
The current Director the Transvaal Museum is Dr. Martin Krüger(Acting)While the position for Director is being advertised.
The Transvaal Museum was amalgamated with the Pretoria-based National Cultural History Museum (also called the African Window) and the South African National Museum of Military History (situated in Johannesburg) on 1 April 1999 to form the Northern Flagship Institution. The NFI was officially renamed Ditsong Museums of South Africa in April 2010. The Transvaal Museum was renamed Ditsong National Museum of Natural History at the same time. Ditsong is managed by a chief executive officer and a board, which replaced the three separate previous museum boards.
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