The First Raadsaal Museum is the oldest building left standing in Bloemfontein, dating back to 1849. It tells the fascinating history of the Free State and its establishment.
The building has an interesting history itself, it was built by British Resident Major H.D. Warden and was the first school building north of the Orange River. It served as a Church until 1952, after which it was used by the Legislative Council of the Orange River Sovereignty and then in 1854 as an Assembly Hall by the Republic of the Orange Free State. The Assembly moved on to larger premises in 1856 and the building reverted back to its original use as a school. At one time the Raadsaal housed almost all of the city’s original civil instituitions.
In 1877 the building was opened as a Museum, the first home of the National Museum of Bloemfontein in fact until 1915. It now serves as one of the satellite Museums of the National Museum, along with the Oliewenhuis Art Museum and the Freshford House Museum.
In 1936 the building was proclaimed a National Monument as it was truly rich in history and culture. It was restored to reflect its intriguing historical role in 1975 and reopened for public viewing in 1977, exactly 100 years after the founding of the National Museum in the same building.
Entrance to the Museum is free.
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