Hugh Exton Photographic Museum
Polokwane (previously Pietersburg), the capital of the Limpopo Province (previously Northern Province), is home to this fascinating cultural attraction. Housed in a Dutch Reformed church which was built in Polokwane, in the 1890s the museum depicts the history of Polokwane through photography.
One the the things that makes this exhibition so unique is that it begins just about when the town is established in the 1890s and goes on for the next 50 years. And even more fascinating is the fact that it is based entirely on the work of one photographer, Hugh Exton, a man who lived to become 91 years old.
The Dutch Reformed church which is right in the civic centre and has been restored after having been used as a shop for years. The museum has over 23 000 negatives which are printed on glass, stacked in cabinets and presently being identified and classified. There are also some of Extons appointment books, recording minutely every shot he took, its cost and the subject. When this was auctioned off, it was first sent to the National Archives in Pretoria but has now been returned to Polokwane (previously Pietersburg). The exhibitions cover a variety of topics such as, the birth and development of Polokwane, architecture, industries, clothing, trade and famous town residents.
What was unique about Exton, especially for the country he lived in and time he lived, was that he photographed everybody - whites and blacks, Afrikaners and Jews, hunters, migrant labourers off to the mines, proud families of all races. He could often be seen on the streets of his beloved town, photographing everything in it. A visit to the Hugh Exton Photographic Museum gives a clear picture of what the town looked like during its first fifty years, because Exton also recorded historical events, including the opening of the railhead, a visit by General Louis Botha and the office of the local newspaper.
The museum is located in the City parking area at Landros Mare street, next to the Municipality and is open from Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 15:30 but is closed on weekends and public holidays.
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0.8km North East of center of Hugh Exton Photographic Museum
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