South Africa
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The Old Library Museum is situated in the town of Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

In 1847, the citizens of Graaff-Reinet established a public library after the Government donated the land. Despite inadequate funds, the library developed into the towns’ cultural centre and by 1926, a southern and northern wing had been added. The building served the town as its library until 1981, after which a modern library was built in Parsonage Street.

The Old Library was proclaimed a national monument in 1987 and now serves as a Museum and is home to four separate specialized collections. The collections are an insight to the history of the different people of Graaff-Reinet with the Magaliso Sobukwe Exhibition being one of the most popular. Sobukwe, the founder of the Pan-African Congress, was born and brought up in Graaff-Reinet. Despite his very rational and well-argued struggle against apartheid, he so terrified the authorities that they passed a law to imprisoned him on Robben Island and because they considered him so dangerous, he was not held in the main prison, but in a separate house on the Island.

The four Museums, namely Reinet House, Old Library, Old Residency and  Urquhart House are all governed by a Board of Trustees, and are subsidized by the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture. The Military History Museum was recently added to this group of Museums which are all unique cultural gems and an integral part of the town, making Graaff-Reinet one of the most historically significant sites in South Africa. All these buildings are either in the same complex or in close proximity to each other and are all well worth a visit.

Things to do and see

  • Guided & Educational Tours
  • Lex Bremner Fossil Collection
  • Rock Art Exhibition & Stone Age Collection
  • The Magaliso Robert Sobukwe Permanent Exhibition
  • Slavery & the Long Road to Restitution Exhibition
  • William Roe Photographic Collection
  • Lucas Borman Furniture
  • Africana Library
  • Second Hand Books on Sales
  • Museum Shop
  • Conference Facilities


A nominal admission fee is charged. Please contact the Museum directly to confirm pricing.

Monday to Thursday, 08h00 - 16h00

Friday, 08h00 - 16h00

Weekends & Public Holidays, 09h00 - 13h00


Rainfall occurs mainly in the autumn months, with March seeing the highest levels. Winter nights can drop below freezing.

Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 11˚C and 30˚C.

Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 2˚C and 16˚C.


There are flights into Port Elizabeth International Airport, from all major cities in South Africa, on a daily basis. Car hire facilities are available and the airport is approximately 264 km from Graaff-Reinet. 

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