Ditsong Museums of SA
The Pioneer Museum in Silverton is one of seven world-class museums situated in Pretoria. Facilitated by The Ditsong Museums of South Africa, these museums showcase not only our rich cultural heritage, but keep it well-preserved for future generations to enjoy.
The Ditsong Museums feature natural history displays, military regalia and Victorian memorabilia, to name a few. That’s why these cultural centres are a must-visit for Pretoria residents. This Heritage Month, why not treat the kids to a visit to the Pioneer Musuem? It’s a great place to start teaching them about the ‘good old days’. Come and experience how people used to live before electricity, technology and supermarkets! Plus, you can enjoy a number of fun activities, including wax candle making, kneading homemade bread and feeding the farm’s live animals.
The Pioneer Museum
The Pioneer Museum has an incredible history. It dates back to the mid 1800s, and has seen many owners come and go. It has also been part of the gold rush in Johannesburg, silver mining and rapid changes in technology. David Botha, a Cape farmer, built the original farmstead, adopting traditional Tswana techniques to build the floor from mud, cow dung and anthills. In 1874, he sold the Farm to Hans Mundt, a German immigrant.
Mundt’s innovative farming techniques helped develop the farm further. First he built a poultry coop to house his chickens. He later utilised the ideal position of the farm, which was close to the discovery of gold at Lydenburg and Pilgrim’s Rest, to build a halfway house for travelers to and from Pretoria.
Then in 1900, miners discovered silver on the farm. The Silver Mining Company bought a portion of the land, developing a Victorian house to replace the original sheds as accommodation. Six decades on, the buildings on the farm were declared historical monuments. And, finally in 1975, the farm was officially declared a museum and made open to the public. The Pioneer Museum has now been under the custodianship of the Ditsong organisation since 2009.
The Pioneer Museum is open to the public only through booking, so make sure to call them before visiting! You can arrange a guided tour, as well as a number of fun activities for all ages. Or, book out their lapa for a weekend braai with the family.
At the Pioneer open air museum you can see a traditional T-shaped house complete with thatched roof and traditional dung floor. Or, marvel at the restored Victorian homestead, farming implements and pioneer furniture. A visit to this museum gives you a real sense of what the early settler days were like in South Africa. Adding to the experience, tour guides dress up in traditional pioneer dress. Demonstrating how to bake bread in a clay oven, make candles from animal fat and churn butter. You can be part of these activities, too, so make sure to come dressed accordingly!
Typical settler-style furniture and trinkets also feature at the museum. These items include a coffee grinder, weaponry, beds and chairs. Giving a heightened sense of just how far society has progressed since the 1800s, these old homely comforts are a wonder to see. You and the kids will certainly leave the museum with a renewed sense of gratitude for your smart phones and electronics!
The Pioneer Museum hosts an annual New Year’s Day celebration, as well as a weekend farmers market. But, if you want the place just to yourself and the family, book out their hall or lapa over a weekend. Either way, you are sure to have an awesome time exploring the quirky features of this one-of-a-kind museum.
**Entrance costs R25 for children aged 7 – 18 years, and R40 per adult.
For more information
Visit their website for more information, or follow Ditsong Museums of SA on social media:
Facebook – facebook.com/DITSONGMuseumsSA
Twitter – twitter.com/hashtag/ditsong
Instagram – instagram.com/ditsongmuseumsa
Details: +27 12 492 5744 | [email protected] | Keuning Dr, Silverton, Pretoria, 0127.