Iziko Museums of South Africa operates 11 national museums in Cape Town. It is one of the premier cultural institutions in South Africa. The museums house natural history, social history and art collections in magnificent, historic buildings which in themselves are national treasures.
IZIKO is an isiXhosa word, meaning ‘hearth’, traditionally and symbolically the social centre of the home; a place associated with warmth, kinship and ancestral spirits. Here food is prepared and shared, stories are told and knowledge is passed from one generation to the next.
Iziko Museums seeks to emulate this by creating receptive spaces for cultural interaction and dialogue. We are proud to ignite connections between our shared history, our heritage and each other. Iziko embodies the spirit of a transformed institution and our vision of ‘African Museums of Excellence’, a place for all South Africans to gather, nourish body and soul and share stories, where knowledge is passed from one generation to the next. Iziko celebrates our heritage whilst generating new cultural legacies for a society that has moved beyond the shackles of the past.
The three ‘flames’ in our ‘hearth’ logo represent the three collections brought together in our 11 museums: Social History (ochre); Art (red); and Natural History (green). Our collections are made accessible to learners and the public through education, public programmes and exhibitions. While we have many permanent exhibitions, we regularly create and host temporary exhibitions so that the public can enjoy the more than one million items in our collections. We also arrange travelling exhibitions to other cities while playing host to travelling exhibitions from other local and international museums.
A visit to any of our following 11 museums will take you on a magical journey of African heritage:
- Bertram House
- Bo-Kaap Museum
- Groot Constantia Manor House
- Koopmans-de Wet House
- Maritime Centre
- Michaelis Collection at the Old Town House
- Rust en Vreugd
- Slave Lodge and Social History Centre
- South African Museum and Planetarium
- South African National Gallery and Annexe
- William Fehr Collection at the Castle of Good Hope
Our Libraries offer resources to researchers, students and knowledge seekers. The Art Library is based at the South African National Gallery Annexe, the Social History Library is based at the Social History Centre, while the Natural History Library is based at the South African Museum. Access to these resources are offered free of charge. Iziko has a large database of images and is actively digitizing its collection. These images are available at a fee and on request.
Iziko Museums aspires to follow certain values that will ensure the protection of South Africa’s heritage for the benefit of future generations.
- Ubuntu – ‘I am because of you’
- Community engagement and social responsiveness
- Batho Pele – ‘Putting people first’
- Empower and inspire our visitors through education and research
- Communication and information sharing – ongoing, open and honest communication and sharing of information
- Develop and sustain mutually beneficial local and international partnerships
- Professional, dependable and consistent service excellence
- Mutual trust, respect, equality, honesty and dignity – treat everyone fairly and uphold human dignity
- Good and transparent financial governance
- Iziko Museums of South Africa is an African museum of excellence that inspires all people to celebrate and respect our diverse heritage.
- To continuously innovate and transform our heritage institutions to meet the needs of our democracy and serve our public.
- To manage and promote Iziko’s unique combination of South Africa’s heritage collections, sites and services for the benefit of present and future generations.
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