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The Path of Medical History

The Cape Medical Museum in Green Point, Cape Town can be found in the Old City Hospital Complex, a building built back in 1859 by Sir George Grey, as a hospital for contagious diseases. This quirky Museum is a great visit for anyone who is interested in the history of medicine.

The Museum places particular emphasis on both Western and Traditional medicines in the Cape over the years. Taking the Museum’s “path of medical history” gives visitors an historical account of the medical world since the early 19th century from Victorian Doctors consulting rooms, dispensary and Dentists surgery to traditional Sangoma’s bones and modern medicine still used today.

The history of western medicine begins with the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck, where early medicine was classified according to symptoms of the disease and the symptoms alone were treated. The Dutch apothecaries were also influenced by their contact with the San people, who used indigenous plants as their medicine. A particularly exhibit of interest is the Disease and History Exhibit which details, in length, and with some very real photographs, the history of major diseases from Scurvy to HIV/AIDS.

The Cape Medical Museum offers educational and guided tours to the public and school groups, offering a wonderful insight into the medical field! This Museum also participates in the Cape Town “Museum Night” event and is well worth a visit!

Things to see and do

  • Traditional Medicine Exhibit
  • Dispensary
  • Operating Theatre
  • Victorian Dentist’s Surgery Exhibit
  • Disease & History Exhibit
  • Modern South African Medicine Exhibit


Entrance Fee, by donation

Monday & Saturday, open per appointment only

Prices are subject to change, please confirm directly with the Museum

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