Study of Humanities
The Collections Management Department (Humanities) was created in 2008 and comprises the collections from the Anthropology and History Departments. The first artefacts entered the Anthropology Collection in 1878, a year after the Museum was founded. There are some interesting objects among the earliest accessions, for example, a San kierie, obtained originally in 1846 from the San man who made it and a bow and arrow from the Soutpansberg, donated in 1894 and said to have been taken in war against Queen Modjadji of the Lobedu. The first material that formed the nucleus of the History Collection was collected in 1877. This collection largely portrays the history of Bloemfontein, its surrounding areas and the rest of the Free State. Although there is material dating back to the seventeenth century, the major part of the collection consists of material from the nineteenth century, and deals mainly with European colonial history. Bloemfontein was founded in 1847 and there are a number of valuable objects relating to the early history of the city.
Basotho blankets on display at Oliewenhuis Art Museum
15 May – 6 July 2014
6 June 2014
The Basotho blanket collection was made available on loan to the National Museum by the Robertson family from Ladybrand, who traded in Basotho blankets. The uniqueness of this collection lies in its antiquity. The collection includes a Sandringham mountain rug, or Mohodu, dating back to 1934, a Badges of the Brave blanket honouring those who fought in World War II (1939-1945) and a Batho ba Roma blanket made to commemorate Pope John Paul’s visit to Lesotho in 1988. But certainly the most prestigious blanket in the collection is the Victoria England / Seanamarena or ‘chief’s blanket’. Production of this type of blanket is restricted, making it more expensive and therefore a much sought after item.
Seanamarena or 'chief's blanket'
Badges of the brave
Basotho Collection available on SAHRIS's webpage
16 September 2013
The Basotho Collection which forms part of the Museum’s Anthropology Collection was recently added to the South African Heritage Resources Information System, commonly known as SAHRIS. www.sahra.org.za/sahris
A traditional conical hat weaved from palm fibres (O 3467).
Decorated clay pot used for carrying and storing liquids, mainly water (O 1089).
Quilt works now form part of international quilt index
16 September 2013
Patchwork and quilted items in the textile collection are now included in an international quilt index www.quiltindex.org. This reference tool provides valuable information and images about quilts held in private and public collections all over the world.
What is a quilt
Usually a quilt is made by sewing two pieces of cloth together with padding in-between held in place by stitching that creates a design. However, very few quilts in the Museum’s collection are in actual fact quilted; they are rather examples of patchwork. Patchwork or pieced work involves sewing together shaped pieces of fabric to produce a pattern or motif. The larger design is accomplished by repeating these patterns.
In rural areas in South Africa, where fabric was very scarce, it took a lot of artistic innovation to create something beautiful. A woman would often use plain white or off-white fabric as a focal point in a design and then decorate it with land embroidery (G 470).
Many different pattern names exist, e.g. the Grandmothers’ Flower Garden pattern, where a central hexagon is circled by six colourful printed or solid hexagons to make a flower motif (G 931).
Chief Conservator and Head of Department
Sudré Havenga MA email@example.com
Sudré completed her BA Honours degree in History at the University of the Free State and was appointed as Collections Manager of the History Department in November 1996. She obtained a Masters degree in History (Die Kultuurhistoriese Versameling van die Nasionale Museum) in 2007 and was appointed as Head of the Collections Management Department in 2008. Her field of interest includes conservation and preservation and she specialises in the preventative conservation of humanities collections.
Elmar du Plessis BA Hons firstname.lastname@example.org
Elmar du Plessis obtained a BA degree in Culture Studies and later an Honours degree in History at the University of the Free State, after which she was appointed as Research Assistant in the Department of History at the University of the Free State. In 2007 she took up a post as Collections Manager in the National Museum’s Collections Management Department: Humanities. Her field of interest includes historical military firearms as well as household items from all cultures in South Africa.
Anna Chacha was appointed at Oliewenhuis Art Museum (a satellite of the National Museum) in 2003. She transferred to the Archaeology Department in 2004 and then to the Collections Management Department in 2008. She is responsible for the caring and routine cleaning of the collections, specifically the Anthropology collection.
Engelina Mogoera was appointed at the Museum in 1982. Engelina is responsible for the caring and routine cleaning of the collections, specifically the household objects. She has an aptitude for ceramic restoration.
Museum Officer - Freshford House Museum
Museum Officer - First Raadsaal & Wagon Museum
The aim of this Department is to preserve, conserve and manage the collections in its care according to the highest possible museum standards. The Department holds significant collections of 19th Century and contemporary European household articles, textiles, documents and photographs; an international numismatic collection and anthropological objects related to the lifestyles of indigenous peoples.
Coetzee, G. & Havenga, S. 2014. Kinders en hulle speelgoed: 'n historiese-ageologiese studie van Welkomskraal, 'n pioniersplaas in die distrik Venterstad. Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Kultuurgeskiedenis 28(1): 24-45.
Havenga, S. & Wessels, A. 2012. “Examplair” – Victoriaanse merklappe met spesifieke verwysing na voorbeelde in die versameling van die Nasionale Museum, Bloemfontein. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum 28(1): 1-21.
Havenga, S. & Wessels, A. 2007. Die veranderende silhoeët van bruidsuitrustings, 1830-1930. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum 23(4): 122–144.
Du Plessis, E. 2014. Weapons that changed the face of World War I. Culna 69
Du Plessis, E. 2014. Blankets for royalty – The story of the Basotho blanket. Culna 69
Havenga, S. 2014. Albert Meyerhof – An ‘enemy alien’. Culna 69
Du Plessis, E. 2013. Voorlaaier van die Voortrekker. Culna 68
Havenga, S. 2013. Bottoms up! The story of tankards. Culna 68
Havenga, S. 2010. Charles Newberry and the Prynnsberg legacy. Culna 65
Havenga, S. 2009. The telephone – “talking by lightning”. Culna 64
Du Plessis, E. 2008. Die bewapening van die twee Boererepublieke voor en tydens die Anglo-Boereoorlog, 1899-1902. Culna 63
Havenga, S. 2008. Exploring N’wana. Culna 63
Havenga, S. 2007. Shweshwe. Culna 62
Havenga, S. 2006. Republiek van die Oranje-Vrystaat het nooit eie munte gehad nie. Culna 61
Havenga, S. 2004. Unieke Sendinggeld – Raar maar waar. Culna 59
Havenga, S. 2003. The Graaff-Reinet Doll. Culna 58
Havenga, S. 2001. With this ring. Culna 56
Havenga, S. 1999. Die Nicolai-Bybeltjie: klein, maar met 'n ryk verlede. Culna 54
Havenga, S. 1998. 'n Toestel met 'n ander Dimensie. Culna 53
Havenga, S. 1997. 'n Borsspeld met 'n boodskap. Culna 52
The Collections Management Department (Humanities) comprises the collections from the Anthropology and History Departments.
The Anthropology Collection is relatively small, about 5000 objects, but is quite varied. The Collection incorporates objects from different parts of the world , for example Egypt and Australia. The main focus is on southern African material, although most of the African continent is represented in some way in the collection.
The Ceramic Collection consists of European ceramics, mainly English, dating from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
A Mason serving dish and cover (ca.1940).
The Document Collection is relatively small and houses mainly late nineteenth and twentieth century items. Items included in this collection are programmes (funerals, festivals), menus, letters, cards (Christmas, valentine, wedding), certificates etc.
The menu for the formal luncheon in celebration of the opening of the Norvalspont-Bloemfontein railway on 17 December 1900 - the first railway in the Orange Free State republic.
The Furniture Collection consists mainly of English furniture from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. There are a few South African manufactured pieces such as riempiesbanke. Fine examples of the late Victorian and early Edwardian periods can be viewed at Freshford House Museum.
Bobbin-turned side-table (ca.1690).
This collection houses a large number of items found in and around nineteenth and twentieth century homes. It includes kitchenware, radios, telephones, cameras, ornaments, silverware, glassware etc.
Copper charcoal iron (ca.1830's).
The Numismatic Collection (coins, notes and cheques) is relatively small and consists of items from all over the world. Worth mentioning are the examples of old Free State paper money and Good Fors as well as an example of a Free State Pattern Penny (1888) and a Griqua missionary coin from 1815.
Pattern coin for the Orange Free State made by Otto, Nolte & Co. of Berlin, Germany (ca.1888).
The large Photograph Collection consists mainly of photographs of the Free State and Bloemfontein: architecture, people of historical importance, political figures, fashion, education and historical events are some of the themes represented in the collection.
The Grand Theatre in Hanger Street, Bloemfontein was a mixture of Romanesque, Classical and Art Nouveau architecture. In 1953 both the Grand Theatre and Grand Hotel (in the background) were demolished and replaced by a parking lot.
The Textile Collection includes flags, household linen, samples of embroidery, shoes, handbags, hats etc. Costumes in the collection consist mainly of women’s clothing from the middle of the nineteenth century to the present day. There is a small collection of men’s clothing, mainly suits and uniforms. A large wedding gown collection which dates from 1830 to 1980 as well as some exquisite examples of Victorian and Edwardian period dress form part of this collection.
Wedding gown (ca.1867).
The small Toy Collection contains mainly dolls, model trains and cars as well as some games. The two eighteenth century wooden dolls (Vaderlandspoppe) and the South African manufactured Graaff-Reinet dolls are some of our most prized objects.
Painted wooden doll from the Netherlands, also known as a "Vaderlandspop" (ca.1760).
The Transport Collection contains coaches, wagons and carts. Most of these are on display in the Wagon Museum, 95 St George Street.
At the turn of the 19th century the Cape cart was one of the most popular vehicles in South Africa. The name (Afrikaans kapkar) refers to the tent-like hood of the vehicle.
The Weaponry Collection consists of two parts - firearms and swords. The firearm collection includes muzzle-loaders as well as breech-loading rifles dating back to the South African War (1899-1902). The swords of Major Henry Warden, founder of Bloemfontein (1849), and Pres. J.H. Brand, fourth President of the Orange Free State (1864-1888) are some of the more valuable pieces in the sword collection.
Double-barrel percussion lock muzzle-loader made by William Powell & Son (ca.1860).
The acceptance of material on loan implies that the following conditions have been accepted: