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Custodian of our Heritage

The National Museum in Bloemfontein has been in existence since 1877. Its motto, “Curator Hereditatis” means that it regards itself as the custodian of our heritage.

When first opening, the Museum displays comprised mostly of rarities from around the world. It grew quickly into an institution of international stature and today it focuses not only on Art, but also on Natural History and Cultural History. The Museum has 13 research departments which include an Education Department, a Natural and Human Sciences Department, the Art Museum and a Library.

The Museums natural history halls and exhibitions are undoubtedly the most interesting. Some of the exquisite items on display are life-size fiberglass elephants, the only complete skeleton of Euskelosaurus in the world (one of the earliest known dinosaurs) and a "working" beehive!

Through conservation, research and education, the Museums mission is to promote an understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the South African natural and cultural environment. It offers visitors a detailed view of the history of Bloemfontein itself from the beautifully reconstructed Victorian Bloemfontein street scenes exhibition as well as the Mangaung exhibit.

The National Museum is a fascinating visit, but don't forget to visit its’ satellite museum as well, the Oliewenhuis Art Museum on Grant’s Hill.

Things to do and see

  • Live Displays, established to showcase unusual animals: Vertebrate – Snakes, Clawed Frog, Cichild Fish; Yellow-bellied Terrapin. Invertabrate – Australian Redclaw Crayfish, African Freshwater Crabs, Cockroaches; Beehive
  • Palaeontology : Dinosaurs and other reptiles
  • Mammals: Elephants, Pangolin; Black Wildebeest etc.
  • Bird Hall
  • Bloemfontein & Mangaung History
  • Historical Street Scene
  • Dreyer Hall: Archeological artifacts from the Stone Age, Iron Age, Ancient Egypt etc.
  • African Cultures Hall
  • Geology Hall: mineral collection on display
  • Astronomy Hall: Solar System & Meteorite display
  • Herpetology Hall: Crocodiles, Alligator Snapping Turtle, Tortoise, Gila Monster, Anaconda Skin
  • Guided Tours Available
  • Audio guide
  • Wheelchair friendly
  • Certain touch exhibits with braille displays
  • Shop
  • Tea Room


There is a nominal admission fee of R5.00 however prices are subject to change so please contact the Museum directly to confirm prices.

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