The McGregor Museum

The McGregor Museum is one of the key establishments that make up the cultural and historical tapestry which form Kimberley’s fascinating story. Your luxury railway journey stops in Kimberley, where you can soak up the history as well as the wildlife. Formally known as the Alexander McGregor Memorial Museum, it was established in 1907. Alexander McGregor was a former Mayor of Kimberley whose wife gifted the city with the building to honour his memory. The first museum director was Miss Maria Wilman, who ran it from 1908-1947 and had studied Geology, Mineralogy and Chemistry at Cambridge University. Not only that but she was fascinated by botany and archaeology, publishing many works on these two topics and contributing greatly to the museum’s knowledge and prestige.

The-McGregor-Museum   Kimberleys-fascinating-story


The museum is governed by a Board of Trustees and is aided by the Northern Cape Administration through the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture. The museum is a research institute specialising in the fields of natural and cultural history; including zoology, botany, general history, South African Struggle history, archaeology and social anthropology. The McGregor plays an integral role in curating and archiving collections and it regularly holds local and international educational and outreach programmes to support the community in the Northern Cape. Over the years, the museum has been at the head of many projects that hold great significance to the country’s legacy such as:

2001: Robben Island Project exhibition, opened by Ahmed Kathrada, 2001

2004: Ten Years of Democracy displays and a contribution to the Democracy X exhibition at Iziko South African Museum in Cape Town.

2009: The Sacred Legacy exhibition combining the Shared Legacies, including the photographic works of Edward Curtis and Alfred Martin Duggan-Cronin. Opened at the Centre for African Studies, UCT.

The McGregor Museum is home to many astounding and comprehensive collections of natural and cultural history. These include a botanical herbarium, zoology collections, and an archive of historical documents, photographs and oral history. The unique geology of the country is shown through the rock art and archaeology exhibits as well as palaeontology collections. The main McGregor Museum is found on Chapel Street in a beautiful red brickwork building, however, there are 9 other branches of the establishment dotted around Kimberley that promise to fulfil one’s cultural palate. These include the photographic and ethnographic Duggan-Cronin House Gallery, the Magersfontein Battlefield Museum and the Wildebeest Kuil Rock Art Centre.

Rovos Rail passengers should look out for the following exciting exhibits:

  • Ancestors Gallery: take a trip through three-million years of human history in the region, including ancient tools and weapons.
  • The sandbagged shelter from the Kimberley Siege of 1899
  • Thanda Bantu: a photographic exhibition
  • Liberation Struggle
  • Hall of Religions



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