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36 Aliwal Street
Bloemfontein, South Africa


History of Educational Activities

In 1892 Mr Max Rossteucher was appointed as the first qualified Museum Curator. His task included the educational function of providing the public with information about the collection.

Much later the need for a qualified Education Officer and Guide was recognized, and in 1968 Mr Barnie Stevens was appointed as Senior Professional Officer (Education). In that year 42 white groups (consisting of 2 164 learners) and 19 black groups (consisting of 1 371 learners) visited the Museum. In 1975 Mr Edwin Mohatlane became the Museum’s first black Lecturer-Guide (seconded to the Museum by the Free State Provincial Department of Education and Training).

In 1982 Miss Anne-Marie Mönnig succeeded Mr Stevens. During this period an existing Museum hall was modified into the so-called ‘Children’s Museum’ which served mainly as a lecture room for school groups. In 1985, after the appointment of Mrs Marieta Lamprecht as Chief Education Officer, the Education Department expanded and its tasks increased considerably. In that year 13 000 children in school groups visited the Museum, but by 1990 this had increased to 36 900 children. In the same period overall visitor numbers increased from 45 000 to 70 000. A further huge increase in the numbers of visiting school children resulted from the introduction of ‘Specials’ in 1995. These very popular, largely curriculum-orientated lessons were presented over a period of 2 to 3 weeks each school term. In 2009, a total of 60 788 school children in groups visited the Museum in Aliwal Street, while the overall visitor numbers for Aliwal Street were 80 837, and for the Museum as a whole (including the satellite museums) 204 666.

Following Marieta Lamprecht’s retirement, Tebogo Mohlakane was appointed Head of Department in 2005. The Museum’s Education Department started becoming involved in initiatives of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) [managed by the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA)] such as African Origins Month, Antarctica Month and Astronomy Month. Collaboration with the University of the Free State and the Free State Education Department during events such as National Science Week also began. Programmes on Heritage and Heritage Sites of South Africa were added to the list of educational activities. An annual storytelling competition for elderly people was introduced in 2005 to complement the History Department’s Oral History Project.

Tebogo was succeeded by Ancilia van Staden as Head of Department in 2015.

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