The Museum Services’ chief aim is to promote the preservation of our country’s rich and varied cultural heritage by assisting in the development of local museums in KwaZulu-Natal and by raising their standards. Museum Services has 35 museums affiliated to it, all of which are open to the public. These museums receive financial assistance from provincial government. It also provides smaller museums with professional and technical assistance in terms of research, art studio, museum conservation, restoration-display, design and manufacture facility and events marketing and outreach projects.

Brief overview

Legislation: –

Museum Service is a directorate established in terms of the following legislative mandates:

South African Constitution, Act no. 108 of 1996, as amended

Public Finance Management Act, no. 1 of 1999, as amended

Public Service Act, no. 103 of 1994, as amended

Labour Relations Act, 66 of 1995, as amended

Public Service Regulation, 2003

Ordinance 26 of 1973

Regulation 113 of 1975

Regulation 69 of 1998

Regulation 187 of 1990

Employment Equity Act, no. 55 of 1998

Skills Development Act, no. 97 of 1998

World Heritage Convention Act, 1999

National Heritage Resources Act, 2000

KwaZulu-Natal Heritage Act 10 of 1997


Museum service provides vital support service to 43 affiliated museums throughout the province, 25 of which are Municipal Museums, 16 Board of Trustee Museums and 2 Provincial Museums.


Museum Service plays a supporting role to municipalities and board of trustees in the running of these museums.


Subsidies are paid to affiliated museums annually, to assist with administration and capital development costs. These funds are critical to most small museums’ survival.

The Department of Arts and Culture is currently busy with a process called ‘Provincialisation’ which is  taking over the mandate of Museums in terms of Schedule 5 A of the Constitution and for  museums to be able to uphold appropriate norms and standards.


  1. Infrastructure Projects:

Museum Service Directorate is continually involved in the building of new museums and renovations of existing museums. The current projects are:-

* Education Museum in Durban: Project in collaboration with the eThekwini Municipality to build a new Education Museum

* Howick Museum – Refurbishment of the building following fire damage to the Museum.

* Qhudeni Museum, Nkandla – natural history and cultural museum. Research and erecting display boards and exhibitions depicting local history.

* Mpophomeni Eco Museum – Howick: Refurbishment of buildings as a newly established Museum.

* Port Shepstone Museum. The building of a new Museum on a site located by the Local Municipality. Commencement should take place in the latter half of 2015.

* Talana Museum: Dundee. Replacement of the waterproofing to the roof of the main building.


  1. Museum Service core function areas:


Research carried out on all province’s heritage, culture and history by trained researchers throughout the province.

Research also carried out to assist in affiliated museum needs.

The Research unit is one of the most critical functions of Museum Service. It involves identifying relevant research themes and conducting scholarly research based on those themes. Various methodologies are used to gather historical knowledge. Whatever comes out of research translates into exhibition panels and designs for exhibitions.



An important function of any museum is the collection of cultural items that are unique, significant and which reflect our cultural diversity. Museum Service manages a collection center which houses over 22000 artifacts which must be kept in accordance with specialized norms and standards.


Over the years a wide range of photographs has been collected (± 20 000 items + 30 000).

Items from the Collection are loaned to museums for their projects / displays on a short or long term basis.


Particular attention is paid to indigenous cultural items. An art collection has been established to assist three affiliated art galleries.


 Art Studio

Museums’ pride and beauty lies in their displays and exhibitions.  Ours as a service center, is to produce state of the art displays using the latest technologies at our disposal.

Displays are established for affiliated museums. Trained, experienced research and graphic art personnel research design and manufacture displays. Displays are presented in many ways using a variety of media.


Conservation and Restoration

Constant restoration and conservation of museum items to ensure their preservation for future generations. Museum Service provides a specialized function of preservation and restoration.  Items are carefully preserved and restored in accordance with prescribed methods.

Diverse materials are worked with such as metal, wood, glass, textiles, paper, leather, ceramics and artworks etc. Conservators are governed by an international conservation ethics policy. The directorate provides professional guidance to all provincial museums, by setting standards and offering assistance.



Museum Service sees its role as that of forging partnerships with schools, municipalities and the corporate sector and creating greater awareness of museums. There is a critical need to involve communities in museum work because as South Africans, we have many untold stories.  Such stories need to be told through oral history. Considering our historical past, there is a need for advocacy and a marketing strategy for our museums. Museum Service is well positioned to be a documentation center for IKS

In order to carry out its outreach programme Museum Service purchased two Mobile Museums and artifacts are taken into the rural areas in order to promote Museums.


  1. Affiliated Museums: KwaZulu- Natal


Municipal Museums: KZN
1 Carnegie Art Gallery: Newcastle
2 Dukuza Museum: KwaDukuza
3 Empangeni Art Gallery
4 Fort Amiel Museum: Newcastle
5 Fort Durnford Museum: Estcourt
6 Greytown Museum
7 Howick Museum
8 Margate Art Gallery
9 Rohde House Museum: Mooi  River
10 Nuwe Republiek / Lukas Meijer Museum Vryheid
11 Port Shepstone Cultural Hist. Museum
12 Seige Museum: Ladysmith
13 Talana Museum: Dundee
14 Tatham Art Gallery: PMBurg
15 Weenen Museum
16 Winterton Museum
17 Zululand Historical Museum: Eshowe
Municipal Museums: eThekwini
18 Bergtheil House: Westville
19 Durban Art Gallery
20 Durban Natural Science Museum
21 Kwa Muhle Museum: Durban
22 Local History Museum: Durban
23 Old Court House Museum: Durban
24 Pinetown Museum
25 Port Natal Maritime: Durban
Board of Trustee Museums – Affiliated
1 Baynesfield Estate Museum
2 Comrades House: PMBurg
3 DCO Matiwane Museum: PMBurg
4 East Griqaland Museum: Kokstad
5 Himeville Museum
6 Izwi Labesifazane Museum: Hillcrest
7 Macrorie House: PMBurg
8 Mazisi Kunene Museum: Dbn
9 Mission House Museum: Hermannsberg
10 Mphopomeni Eco Museum: Howick
11 Old Parsonage Museum: Utrecht
12 Phansi Museum: Durban
13 Richmond Byrne and District Museum
14 Project Gateway: Pmb
15 Vukani Museum: Eshowe
16 1860 Heritage Centre: Durban
KZN Provincial Museums
1 Gerhard Bhengu: Ingwe
2 Qhudeni Museum: Nkandla


  1. Current activities

Regular visits made to affiliated museums to offer assistance on museum management.


Training Courses

Training is offered to staff of affiliated museums on full range of museum related activities to ensure more efficient museum managers. Four courses are offered this year.