Ditsong National Museum of Natural History
Formerly known as the Transvaal Museum, the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History was originally founded as the Staatsmuseum of the ZAR on the 1st of December 1892. Since its inception it has acted as custodian and documentation centre of South Africa's natural heritage. The Museums collections and exhibits include hominid fossils from the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site and associated fauna, including Mrs Ples (the nickname attributed to a fossil skull believed to represent a distant relative of all humankind); fossils, skeletons, skins and mounted specimens of amphibians, fish, invertebrates, reptiles and mammals. Research is done on these collections and the museum bases its educational programmes on it, as well as communicating this information to all people of South Africa and the international community. The Ditsong National Museum of Natural History is the only natural history museum in Gauteng and one of the largest in South Africa. It is unique in that it is the only institute in South Africa that offers the local, national and international community the opportunity to view its collections including original fossil material usually denied the public.
The Public Programmes Department at the museum includes the educational and public interest activities of the Museum. A comprehensive series of programmes and conducted tours is offered to schools, students and tourists in various South African languages. All programmes are based on OBE (Outcomes Based Education) principles and are presented by skilled facilitators. Booking is essential to participate in these activities. A hands-on activity centre, called the Discovery Centre, where the five human senses are used to discover the wonders of nature, offering an invaluable educational adventure. It affords easy access for wheelchairs and display texts are also transcribed in Braille. This centre is ideal for younger learners that are eager to explore with their hands.
The Ditson National Museum of Natural History - Library is a science reference library specializing in the zoology, palaeontology and faunal history of southern Africa. The collection is paper-based and provides documentary support for all the various functions of the museum.
The Library has been in existence for over a hundred years, but the first librarian, Mrs. Thelma Campbell, was only officially appointed in 1937. Since that time subsequent librarians have expanded the collection by judicial acquisition of appropriate material through purchase, subscription, gifts, exchange and interlending. Apart from their scientific importance, many of the publications in the Library also have great aesthetic value.
The library is currently comprised of approximately 11,000 monographs, 1,800 periodical titles, 90,000 reprints and several volumes of newspaper clippings about the museum and other scientific events. It makes its collection and service available to the museum's own staff. Scientists from other local and international research institutions, students and the general public also use the Library. Specialized information is also disseminated through the Librarys participation in an active interlending programme and through a publications exchange programme with scientific institutions worldwide. The Library strives to continue building its specialized collections and offering its services and resources to clients whose information requirements exceed the generalized supply of public, school and university libraries.
The Library is open weekdays, 07:30 to 16:00.
The museum is divided into two major sections.
The Department of Vertebrates which is made up of the Archaeozoology and Large Mammal Collection, the Herpetology Collection, the Karoo Palaeontology Collection, the Ornithology Collections, the Plio-Pleistocene Palaeontology Collection and the Small Mammals Collection.
The Department of Invertebrates is made up of the Coleoptera Collection, the General Entomology Collection, the Lepidoptera Collection and the Lower Invertebrates Collection.
The Museum is open daily from 08:00 to 16:00 (Except Christmas Day and Good Friday)
For more information and entrance fees please contact:
432 Paul Kruger Street
2.9km North East of center of Ditsong National Museum of Natural History
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3.2km East of center of Ditsong National Museum of Natural History
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5.4km North East of center of Ditsong National Museum of Natural History
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Nearby Points Of Interest