Observatory Museum

Astronomy / Museums in or near Grahamstown, Frontier Country in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Things To Do in GrahamstownObservatory Museum

Astronomy Museums Frontier Country

Where? 10 Bathurst Street, Grahamstown, Eastern Cape

When? Monday to Friday 09h30 to 13h00 and 14h00 to 17h00.
Saturday 09h00 to 13h00.

How? Call +27 (0)46 622-2312

How much? Price on request

Overnight? Stay at accommodation in Grahamstown, in Eastern Cape

The Observatory Museum in Grahamstown

If you only have time to visit one museum on your visit to Grahamstown then the Observatory Museum as it is a unique museum which celebrates the beginning of the diamond industry in South Africa.

The Observatory Museum was opened on 2 February 1982 and the building used was originally a 19 century jewellers shop and family home and it is connected with the identification of the Eureka (the first authenticated diamond in the country way back in 1867). The ground floor of the museum tells this story.

The building is multi-storied and houses a number of exhibits one of which focuses on Dr William G. Atherstone and the other main participants who identified the first diamond in South Africa. The owner and designer of the building, Henry Carter Galpin, a jeweller and watchmaker lived in the town until his death in 1886. He was a very successful businessman who also managed to find time to explore some of his interests (natural history, music, practical mechanics, astronomy and options). You will find many of these features and interests in the Observatory.

Some of the more unusual features are the Meridian Room where astronomical time, GMT (Grahamstown’s mean time) could be calculated, a Camera Obscura which is the only one built is the country.

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