Museums and Galleries Walk, part I (Self Guided), Johannesburg

Johannesburg is a city known for its gold mines and other precious minerals. It is also an important cultural city with museums and galleries presenting the history of Johannesburg’s formation. Take the following tour to discover its best known and most beautiful museums and galleries.
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Museums and Galleries Walk, part I Map

Guide Name: Museums and Galleries Walk, part I
Guide Location: South Africa » Johannesburg (See other walking tours in Johannesburg)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 Km or 3 Miles
Author: jenny
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • MuseuMAfricA
  • Bensusan Museum
  • SAB World of Beer
  • Standard Bank Gallery
  • Absa Money Museum
  • Johannesburg Art Gallery
  • Constitution Hill

1) MuseuMAfricA (must see)

MuseuMAfricA (formerly known as the Africana Museum) houses a wonderful collection of historic works of art. It was established in 1933 when the Johannesburg Public Library bought a large quantity of Africana material and books from John Gaspard Gubbins. From the mid-1930s, the museum's scope widened to include all aspects of African cultural history and material culture, e.g. collections of tokens, musical instruments, and head-rests. MuseuMAfricA houses The Geology Museum and the Bensusan Museum of Photography.

Have a look at the amazing street art around the outside of the museum.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 9am-5pm
Free entry
Bensusan Museum

2) Bensusan Museum

Bensusan Museum contains exhibitions of rare photographic equipment and photographs taken with them. The museum also preserves the work of South African photographers and offers multimedia shows related to the principles of photography. Operation Hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 09.00 - 17.00.
SAB World of Beer

3) SAB World of Beer

SAB World of Beer represents one of the most popular attractions in Johannesburg. The museum has tours available of its brewery and exhibits offering information on the history of beer, from ancient times to the present day. Operation Hours: Sunday - Monday: 10 am - 4 pm; Tuesday - Saturday: 10 am - 5 pm.
Standard Bank Gallery

4) Standard Bank Gallery

The Standard Bank Gallery has gained a reputation for being one of the finest art galleries in the country. It also holds concerts and other events including the popular Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year Award. Operation Hours: Monday - Friday 08:00 - 16:30; Saturdays 09:00 - 13:00; Closed Sundays and public holidays.
Absa Money Museum

5) Absa Money Museum

Absa Money Museum is dedicated to the history of South Africa’s economic development and the scientific study of currency. It contains the country’s largest collection of money, including glass beads, shells and a range of coins with information on their relation to the history of trade and the growth of society.
Johannesburg Art Gallery

6) Johannesburg Art Gallery (must see)

Johannesburg Art Gallery is located in Joubert Park in the city's central business district. It is the largest gallery on the subcontinent with a collection that is larger than that of the Iziko South African National Art Gallery in Cape Town. The building was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and consists of 15 exhibition halls and sculpture gardens. It houses collections of 17th-century Dutch paintings, 18th- and 19th-century British and European art, 19th-century South African works, a large contemporary collection of 20th-century local and international art, and a print cabinet containing works from the 15th century to the present.

The current collection includes works by Auguste Rodin, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Pablo Picasso, Camille Pissarro, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Herbert Ward and Henry Moore, and South Africans such as Gerard Sekoto, Walter Battiss, Alexis Preller, Maud Sumner, Sydney Kumalo, Ezrom Legae and Pierneef. It also houses an extensive collection of the work of contemporary local artists.

The place is filled with wonderful art and talents but the environment around it is not so safe.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-5pm
Free admission
Sight description based on wikipedia
Constitution Hill

7) Constitution Hill (must see)

The Constitution Hill precinct is located at 11 Kotze Street in Braamfontein, Johannesburg near the western end of the suburb of Hillbrow. Constitution Hill is the seat of the Constitutional Court of South Africa.

The hill was formerly the site of a fort which was later used as a prison. The Old Fort Prison complex is known as Number Four. The original prison was built to house white male prisoners in 1892. The Old Fort was built around this prison by Paul Kruger from 1896 to 1899 to protect the South African Republic from the threat of British invasion. Later, Boer military leaders of the Anglo-Boer War were imprisoned here by the British.

The Old Fort prison was later extended to include "native" cells, called Section 4 and Section 5, and, in 1907, a women's section was added. An awaiting-trial block was constructed in the 1920s. Both political activists opposed to apartheid and common criminals were held at the prison. Mahatma Gandhi was imprisoned here in 1906, and striking white mineworkers in 1907, 1913 and 1922.

Under the apartheid government, only whites were held in the Old Fort itself, except for Nelson Mandela, who was given a bed in the hospital section when he was as an awaiting-trial prisoner in 1962 prior to the Rivonia Trial. Joe Slovo, Bram Fischer, Albert Luthuli, and Robert Sobukwe were also inmates. The site housed prisoners until 1983 when it was closed.

Nowadays the site hosts the Women's Gaol Museum, Number Four Museum, and the Old Fort Museum with exhibitions on history and human rights in South Africa.

Why You Should Visit:
You can go into the cells, see and touch. There are signs everywhere in English to give you more information, as well as an orientation film to start. There is also an exhibition on Mandela and Gandhi.

Go for the guided tour. You'll get so much more out of it (and it's only a few bucks extra)!

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-5pm (final tour at 4pm)

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Museums and Galleries Walk, part II

Museums and Galleries Walk, part II

Johannesburg is known as an important and rich South African city. There are a lot of museums and mines providing information on the methods of gathering gold and other precious metals. It is also an important cultural city with museums and galleries presenting the history of Johannesburg’s formation. Take the following tour to discover its best known and most beautiful galleries.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 8.3 Km or 5.2 Miles

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