History Department

The 1820 Settlers Museum was started in 1965 as a division of the Albany Museum, sponsored by Provincial Government and local subscribers. In 1990 the name changed to the History Museum in an attempt to incorporate all local histories and cultures of the Eastern Cape.Around the year 2000 the History Museum became a Department within the Albany Museum, located in the History Building of the Albany Museum.

The History Department is responsible for the curation of the history collections which comprise textiles, furniture, objects, documents and art. Most of its large Victoriana collection is on display in the Observatory Museum. There are also four permanent galleries which hold a portion of the history collections namely the 'Contact & Conflict' Gallery, the '19th Century Lifestyles' Gallery which comprises items from the 1820 Settlers and Xhosa culture, the 'Assimilate,Resist, Make A Home!' Gallery which deals with the first 50 years of Grahamstown's History and the 'Makhanda' Gallery. The History Department also puts on temporary historical exhibitions about once a year.

The History Department also functions as a lively focus of research and education as we give educational lessons on Heritage and local history as well as welcoming historical enquiries on local history.

The History Department also incorporates the Bowker Library which is a non-lending Afrikana Library.

The History Department also incorporates the Genealogy Section which caters for enquiries on family history and is run by Ms Fleur Way-Jones, the genealogist funded by the 1820 Settler Association.

Our current staff:

Amy van Wezel  a.vanwezel@am.org.za (Head of Department/ Principal Human Museum Scientist)
Fleur Way-Jones  f.way-jones@am.org.za (Curator Emeritus/ Genealogist)
Barry September b.september@am.org.za (Assistant to the Curator)