About half an hour’s drive from Durban is a thriving industrial and commercial town named after Sir Benjamin Pine, Governor of Natal (1873-75). At the heart of the town and just off the main road lies the Pinetown Library complex housing both the library and a small yet interesting museum.
A range of topics is featured in the museum, which focuses on local history. Displays reflect the cultural diversity of Pinetown, comfortably showcasing Zulu material culture alongside aspects of early settler history. Anthropology is also covered in the museum and a replica of the famous ‘Mrs Ples’ is displayed alongside stone-age tools and artefacts.
This museum became a multi-cultural museum featuring a range of topics. Outlining several aspects of the surrounding region, the museum provides an overview of the development of the Pinetown region from prehistory to modern times. Local history features include well-known settlers and characters from the region dating from the mid 19th century, the development of the Paradise Valley waterworks, Edwardian furniture and other
Anthropology is also a central theme, focusing on the evolution of humankind man. The exhibit includes a replica of the famous ‘Mrs Ples’ skull, an early hominid (Australopithecus Africanus) discovered at the Sterkfontein Caves in the Gauteng Province, estimated to have existed over two and a half million years ago. Other collections include stone-age tools and artefacts, giving insight into the life of early civilizations.
Zulu crafts, from beadwork, traditional weapons and plumage to more modern developments in customs and tradition provide a glimpse into the diversity of local culture. Aspects of local, Muslim and Coloured cultures are also represented.
The Museum provides information regarding the life and times of the people and places in and around Pinetown to academic and interested community members. Students and teachers from the surrounding schools use this museum as touchstone in their curriculum.
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