McGregor Museum

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McGregor Museum
McGregor Museum, Kimberley (4527868638).jpg
Main building, Atlas Street, Kimberley
Established 1907
Location 7 Atlas Street, Herlear, Kimberley, Northern Cape, South Africa
Coordinates 28°44′59″S 24°46′48″E / 28.74972°S 24.78000°E / -28.74972; 24.78000Coordinates: 28°44′59″S 24°46′48″E / 28.74972°S 24.78000°E / -28.74972; 24.78000
Type Multidisciplinary museum
Owner Board of Trustees / Provincial Public Entity
Nearest car park In museum grounds, Atlas Street, Kimberley
Website & McGregor Museum Kimberley FACEBOOK page

The McGregor Museum in Kimberley, South Africa, originally known as the Alexander McGregor Memorial Museum, is a multidisciplinary museum which serves Kimberley and the Northern Cape, established in 1907.


Housed at first in a purpose-built museum building in Chapel Street, Kimberley, and spreading to occupy further spaces in the city, the museum was, and still is, governed by a Board of Trustees, aided financially by the Kimberley municipality (up to the 1950s), then by the Cape Provincial Administration and, today, by the Northern Cape Administration through the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture. In May 2014 it was declared a Provincial Public Entity, effective from 1 April 2014.[1]

Alexander McGregor had been a Mayor of Kimberley, whose wife bequeathed the building to perpetuate his memory.[2]

Today the museum has its headquarters at the old Kimberley Sanatorium building in Belgravia, Kimberley, and it has several satellites including the original building in Chapel Street.[3] The museum was found on 24 September 1907. By coincidence 24 September was chosen as Heritage Day, a public holiday in South Africa post-1994.

The McGregor Museum is a primary research institute in and for the Northern Cape (and is anticipated to have a role in articulation with the School of Heritage which is to be a part of the Sol Plaatje University[4]) in fields of natural and cultural history (including zoology, botany, general history, South African struggle history, archaeology, social anthropology). It curates important collections and archival material (see below) and, on the basis of its collections and research activities, performs educational and outreach functions to the community locally and throughout the province. Research programmes include international collaborative projects.

Museum directors[edit]

The McGregor Museum operates as a Provincial Public Entity (as of April 2014), governed by a Board of Trustees. It was originally aided by the Kimberley Municipality, De Beers and many donors (from 1907); then by the Cape Provincial Administration (from 1958); and, from 1994, as a Province-aided Museum receiving an annual grant from the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, Northern Cape Province, which also employed the staff of the museum.

Directors of the McGregor Museum have been:

Collections and exhibits[edit]

The museum houses major natural history and cultural history collections including a botanical herbarium, zoology collections, a history archive (including documents, photographs and oral history recordings), ethnography collections, archaeology and rock art collections, physical anthropology, palaeontology and geology collections. Most of these fields are represented by professional staff and collection managers, and the collections and associated research programmes are reflected in permanent and temporary exhibits in various sections and buildings of the museum as well as in outreach programmes in the province and displays in smaller museums.

Expansion to the sanatorium[edit]

Cecil Rhodes posing at the Sanatorium during the Siege of Kimberley

Outgrowing available space at its buildings in town,the museum's headquarters were moved in 1973 to the former Kimberley Sanatorium (built in 1897), which at one time served also as the Hotel Belgrave (1902–1933) and as the Holy Cross Convent School, Kimberley (1933–1971). The new museum headquarters were officially opened on 22 November 1976. For the duration of the Siege of Kimberley (14 October 1899 – 15 February 1900) during the Anglo-Boer War, Cecil John Rhodes lodged in rooms at what was then the Sanatorium.


Branches of the McGregor Museum today include the original McGregor Memorial Museum in town (city history displays), the Duggan-Cronin Gallery (photographic and ethnographic museum), two house museums, Dunluce and Rudd House, the Pioneers of Aviation Museum, the Magersfontein Battlefield Museum, Wonderwerk Cave near Kuruman and the Wildebeest Kuil Rock Art Centre outside Kimberley.

Some major museum projects and programmes[edit]


  1. ^ Notice 394, Pravin Gordhan, Government Gazette 37653, 23 May 2014
  2. ^ Hart, R. (ed) 2007. Chapters from the past: 100 years of the McGregor Museum, 1907–2007. Kimberley: McGregor Museum.
  3. ^ Hart, R. (ed) 2007. Chapters from the past: 100 years of the McGregor Museum, 1907–2007. Kimberley: McGregor Museum.
  4. ^ As announced by the MEC for Sport Arts and Culture, Pauline Williams, in her Budget Speech, 2013, reported in the Diamond Fields Advertiser 24 May 2013, p 2
  5. ^ Allen, V. 2006. Malay Camp: a forgotten suburb. Kimberley: McGregor Museum & Depts Sport, Arts & Culture and Tourism, Environment & Conservation
  6. ^ State of the Province Address by Northern Cape Premier Hazel Jenkins, 12 June 2009
  7. ^ Bamford, M. & Thackeray, F. 2009. Continued excavations at Wonderwerk Cave. The Digging Stick 26(2):21–22
  8. ^ State of the Province Address by Northern Cape Premier Hazel Jenkins, 12 June 2009
  9. ^ Documenting Indigenous Peoples Archived 8 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]