The McGregor Museum Kimberley was in a formal way founded on the 24th September 1907 when the title acts were handed over to the Management Committee. Before this, there had been several calls for the start of a Museum in Kimberley. Nothing had occurred. Eventually, Mrs McGregor, the widow of a previous mayor of Kimberley, Alexander McGregor, donated the funds necessary to build the Museum.
The formal name was to be the Alexander McGregor Memorial Museum. And it had been in a way that displays fondness. known for over the last one hundred years as “the McGregor”. Miss Maria Wilman.
The first person in charge of the Museum (from 1908-1947) was Miss Maria Wilman who had studied Geology, Mineralogy and Chemistry at Cambridge University. She was also interested in Botany and Archaeology and published major works on these two subjects. Since her appointment. The Museum has gone from strength to strength. Under a number of directors and has made important gifts to the ecological and historical knowledge of the Northern Cape.
Housed at first in a purpose built museum building in Chapel Street Kimberley. Spreading to occupy further spaces in the city, the museum was, and still is, managed by a Board of Trustees. Helped financially by the Kimberley municipality (up to the 1950s). Then by the Cape Provincial Administration and, today, by the Northern Cape Administration through the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture. In May 2014 it was named a Provincial Public Entity. Effective from 1 April 2014.
The Mayor of Kimberley had been Alexander McGregor. Whose wife passed on the building to continue his memory.
Today the museum has its head office at the old Kimberley Sanatorium building in Belgravia, Kimberley. It has a number of satellites including the original building in Chapel Street. The museum was found on 24 September 1907. By chance 24 September was chosen as Heritage Day, a public holiday in South Africa post-1994.
The McGregor Museum is a main research organization in and for the Northern Cape (and is anticipated to have a role in articulation with the School of Heritage which is to be a part of the Sol Plaatje University) in fields of natural and cultural history (including zoology, botany, general history, South African struggle history, archaeology, social anthropology).
It has important collections and archival material. And on the basis of its collections and research activities, performs educational and outreach functions to the community locally and throughout the province. Research programmes include international party projects.
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