International Museum Day: 10 Reasons to go back in time in the Bay
On the 18th of May 2017 International Museum Day will be celebrated in Nelson Mandela Bay and all over the world; it’s been 40 years since The International Council of Museums (ICOM) created this day in 1977 to raise awareness that “museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples”.
It is a day to show how important museums are in the development of our society and the theme chosen for 2017 is “Museums and contested histories: Saying the unspeakable in museums”.
The International Council of Museums explains further:
This theme focuses on the role of museums that, by working to benefit society, become hubs for promoting peaceful relationships between people. The acceptance of a contested history is the first step in envisioning a shared future under the banner of reconciliation.
Saying the unspeakable in museums looks at how to understand the incomprehensible aspects of the contested histories inherent to the human race. It also encourages museums to play an active role in peacefully addressing traumatic histories through mediation and multiple points of view.
Keeping the theme of 2017’s International Museum Day in mind there is one museum in particular in Nelson Mandela Bay that stands out.
South End Museum in Humewood, Port Elizabeth, tells the story of those who fought against injustices and changed the course of history; it tells the story of the Bay’s contested history and gives visitors an emotional glimpse into the past, from forced removals to the fishing industry to the Khoi Rebellion.
This museum immerses one into the lives, cultures, challenges, tragedies and victories of those that experienced Apartheid at its most intense.
Whether you are visiting the Bay or a local in the Bay, the South End Museum is a good starting point to understand the unique dynamic of Nelson Mandela Bay and a wonderful place to immerse yourself in the history of South End.
There are newspapers and old photographs of what South End and its diverse community looked like many years ago, and especially during the Apartheid struggle. Since fishing was the livelihood of the South End culture, visitors can also look forward to the Fishing and Angling section, the Sports Hall of Fame, the Music and Dancing display, the Khoikhoi People, Molly Blackburn and Dawid Stuurman Exhibits.
10 Reasons to go back in time in the Bay
The museums in and around Nelson Mandela Bay play a pivotal in the changes and growth of the city over the last few years; museums are anything but boring, it’s alive with artifacts and tidbits of information reminding us of who we are, where we came from and how we are moving forward.
There is something for young and old in the museums in the Bay – people from all walks of life can come together and have an experience. Here are 10 reasons why you should take cue from International Museum Day’s belief that museums play an important role in the development of society, and go visit one of the many museums in Uitenhage, Despatch and Port Elizabeth.
1) The majority of museums in Nelson Mandela Bay is completely free of charge for your enjoyment (donations are welcome).
2) Between the walls of our museums is a wealth of knowledge and history. Our museums are filled with stories; all you need is a willing ear.
3) The Bayworld Museum is the third oldest museum in South Africa while the No.7 Castle Hill museum is the oldest surviving settler cottage in Port Elizabeth.
4) Acknowledge and reconnect with the past; be it where we came from as Homo sapiens or where we came from as South Africans.
6) Museums in the Bay are easily accessible; there is a museum close to you.
7) You can find inspiration at museums like The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum. It is no coincidence that there is a “muse” in “museum”.
8) Museums are not only about yesterday but also about tomorrow. You can find the future of technology at the VW Autopavillion and the Nelson Mandela Bay Science and Technology Centre.
9) It is a great family activity; personal connections can be made with museums and family members during visits.
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