History Museums in Johannesburg

Top History Museums in Johannesburg, South Africa

History Museums in Johannesburg

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Types of Attractions
Museums
Traveller rating
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What travellers are saying

  • Alyssa S
    1 contribution
    As a South African, I brought my partner from New Zealand to Soweto on his very first trip to South Africa this August. Outside of the Hector Pieterson Memorial we stumbled across a volunteer/guide by the name of Poloko. He explained in amazing detail the history of Soweto and the events of the 1976 shootings/protests. He was extremely friendly, kind, jovial and knowledgeable on not only the story of Hector Pieterson, but went above and beyond and took us on a personal walk around tour of the Vilikazi Precinct and surrounds. Poloko taught my partner some local Sowetan slang like "shap" and "yebo" to use to greet the locals back as we walked through the streets. In total, Poloko spent about 2.5 hours giving us his undivided attention and valuable firsthand knowledge on the history of Soweto. We journeyed from the Hector Pieterson Memorial, to the spot where he was shot, to Mandela House and finally ending at Archbishop Tutu's house. Poloko took great photos of us walking Vilakazi Street and taking in the vibe of Soweto. What an amazing, memorable and emotional experience that was only amplified by Poloko's superb hospitality.

    Soweto was amazing, and I would highly recommend contacting Poloko for the best possible experience. His details are +27 73 151 7270.
    Written 5 August 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Myo M
    Coquitlam, Canada21 459 contributions
    A "fort-prison" complex as it once was (now consisting of "3 areas" to see namely No. 4/No. 5 Prisons, the Old Fort & the Women's Prison), the "best part" of my visit here was the walk above the ramparts of the Old Fort on pretty much all four sides of its square-shaped grounds (except on one side with an off-limit stretch of that rampart) with pretty nice views of the Fort right below & the surrounding parts of the city ("quite a bit to the distance" to see) and where are also two "historic cannons" (one of them actually just the way it has been or a similar one having been "on the same spot" since the days of the Boer War over a hundred years ago). In any case, spread out over this "sprawling site" (which covers the three areas & the in-between areas for just short walks from one area to another) are: a number of "museum-like rooms" most notably the room with displays of Gandhi during the time he lived in South Africa (at No. 4/No. 5) & the cell of Mandela during his short stay at this prison before being transferred to Cape Town (at the Old Fort where the cells were usually only for white males); some parts where a "feel of prison" can be felt such as the row of "isolation cells" (all the way at the back of No. 4/No. 5) & the row of "individual cells" for white male prisoners (at the Old Fort); and yes actually somewhat of a surprise I would say being the "lovely garden" (at the Women's Prison). And so, with plenty of items on display in all three areas (mostly "enlarged photos" with their corresponding info texts but also many miscellaneous including some of these interesting "blanket sculptures" seen in some rooms at No. 4/No. 5 likely replicas of those made by the inmates back then), I did actually learn at this site "quite a bit" not just about the life of prisoners here in its operating days but also about those periods of colonial followed by apartheid in the country's history and actually also somewhat of the Boer War (from the info plates above the ramparts of the Old Fort).

    At just a pretty short taxi ride from the Houghton area where I stayed, this site was followed by Mandela's house in Soweto (a compact-sized house museum for way less time needed than this big site although yes it was a long ride of 45 minutes or so getting there from this site at the city center).
    Written 17 July 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Beautiful
    Salisbury, NC33 contributions
    This was truly a once in a lifetime experience/opportunity. Mama Lindi (Koko) was very warm and welcoming, and she made me feel at home. The food was delicious and specially prepared by Koko herself. I would recommend everyone book this personalized experience, you won't regret it!!
    Written 13 January 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Daniel Erasmus
    Greater Johannesburg, South Africa2 contributions
    An excellent museum about the origin of humankind and the first people. One of the best museums in South Africa. Very informative and well research.
    Written 24 April 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • GeneralShamu
    New York City, NY848 contributions
    Two story museum that covers a significant level of detail on the Holocaust and Rwandan genocide. We wish there was more space and time allocated to the Rwandan genocide though as it felt quite a bit rushed/generalized. Regardless, definitely a requirement on any proper itinerary of sight-seeing in Johannesburg.

    There is secured underground parking and the total time required is 3-4 hours if you want to read everything. Note that on the top floor there is a rotating temporary exhibit (the one currently is on a concentration camp in Austria/near the Polish border).
    Written 28 November 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • David20130609
    Waunakee, WI1 162 contributions
    Under construction and in the inner city. Police station inside the gates.

    Not much of the art was available to see.

    Call gallery before making the trip, also have return transportation. We finally got a taxi and it was expensive.
    Written 7 March 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • VanessaPerumal
    Cape Town Central, South Africa206 contributions
    The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Houghton on Central street is one of those spaces steeped in historical legacy where documenting and researching in a knowledge think tank is preserved always a work in progress and the archives world renewed.
    If you visiting Johannesburg and you have a minimum of two hours make sure you pass by the Center. You may even meet some of the team who work there and spot the ones you see on the TV ect. There is an air of excellence and expectancy and a space created for a global village to partake and share in. A knowledge centre with digital archives and a many special dialogies and conferencing also takes place here.
    Written 6 September 2017
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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