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The Calvinia Museum is housed in a former Synagogue and is surprisingly big and interesting for such a small town like Calvinia. The Jewish art deco building was built in 1920 and the Museum is an ideal stop on a leisurely drive through the area.

The Museum documents the lives of the early white European settlers in the wide region of the Hantam Karoo. The very relevant exhibits allow visitors to understand the trials and tribulations that the early inhabitants of the area had to face. On display are some utensils that highlight historic domestic practices and these include items such as candle and soap manufacturing utensils. Victorian wear also features among the exhibits on the early white settlers.

Along with the history of the early inhabitants, the Museum also has an intriguing exhibit devoted to sheep farming in South Africa. On display are items specific to sheep farming activities as well as a Cape, fat-tailed Merino sheep and Dorper sheep, showing the differences between these woolly animals that were and still are, bred in the area.

The Museum is also home to the Tourism Office and it is possible to book guided walking tours of the town’s other places of special interest as well as other activities offered in the area.

Things to do and see

  • Exhibit on early European Settlers lifestyle: Cobbling Workshop, candle making utensils, Moustache Cup, Porcelain & Brass objects, Wall Cupboards, local telephone exchange switchboard etc.
  • Exhibit on Victorian Dress: Flap Trousers, Black Wedding Dress etc.
  • Sheep Farming Exhibit: Bucket Pump, Wool farming Utensils etc.
  • Flour Mill
  • Blacksmith Workshop
  • Cedar Wood Horse Mill
  • Other Oddities on Display such as four-legged Ostrich, old fashioned mousetraps etc.
  • Tourism Office


A nominal Admission fee of R5 or R10 for children and adults respectively is charged. Prices are subject to change, please contact the Museum directly to confirm Admission fee.

x Please note the Museum is closed between 1pm and 2pm

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