South Africa Table Mountain

An overview of the Free State museums
in South Afric

The following is an overview of most of the Free State museums in South Africa by location, including descriptions, contact details and website addresses, where available.

Embraced by several other provinces, the Free State province lies in the heart of the country.

From the major cities to the rural village townships, the hospitality of the people is as overwhelming as the sceneryis beautiful.

Museums in the Free State province by location,...

Historical display at the Voortrekker Monument museum in Pretoria, depicting the
Historical display at the Voortrekker Monument museum in Pretoria, depicting the "Laager" (encampment) of a Voortrekker family on their journey into the interior of South Africa
Free State Museums in South Africa, copyright © South African tourism


The Bethlehem Museum is a socio-historical museum housed in the first Mission Church (1906).
+ Free State
Tel: (058) 303-5076
Fax: (058) 303-4703
Mon and Th: 10:00-12:30
Tues, Wed & Fri: 10:00-12:30; 14:30-17:00
Sat: 10:00-12:00



Bethulie was a London Missionary Society station and the original mission buildings still stand. The Pellissier House Museum depicts the history of events in the area. The house (1843) and outbuildings display 19th Century household effects, farm implements, and war relics.
Free State Museums in South Africa
1 Voortrekker Street
Tel: (051762) 69
Fax: (051762) 333
Tues and Th: 10:00-12:30
Sat: 14:00-17:00
After hours on request



The National Museum was established in 1877 with displays, collections and research undertaken in the fields of entomology, arachnology, mammalogy, herpetology, ornithology, archaeology, botany, palaeo-ecology, palaeontology, anthropology, archaeology, cultural history, rock art and fine arts.
36 Aliwal Street
Tel: (051)447-9609
Fax: (051)447-6273
Mon-Sat: 08:00-17:00
Sun and Public Holidays: 12:00-17:30

The Museum has several satellites:

Free State Museums in South Africa
The First Raadsaal Museum is housed in a typical South African pioneer's building (1849), the first school building north of the Orange River. The building also served as a church until 1852; was used by the Legislative Council of the Orange River Sovereignty, and later as an assembly hall, and in 1877 became the first National Museum building.
95 St Georges Street
Tel: (051) 447-9609
Fax: (051) 447-6273
Mon-Fri: 10:00-13:00
Sat, Sun and Public Holidays: 14:00-17:00

Freshford House Museum, with its asymmetrical facade, unplastered red brick walls, bay-windows, veranda and sink roof (1897), is one of the few houses of the upper middle class of the Edwardian period that still exists in Bloemfontein.
31 Kellner Street
Tel: (051) 447-9609
Fax: (051) 447-6273
Mon-Fri: 10:00-13:00
Sat, Sun and Public Holidays: 14:00-17:00

The Wagon Museum houses a collection of historical wagons and carriages and has displays on the development of transport and the making of a wagon wheel.
Free State Museums in South Africa
95 St Georges Street
Tel: (051)447-9609
Fax: (051)447-6273
Mon-Fri: 10:00-13:00
Sat, Sun and Public Holidays: 14:00-17:00

Other museums in Bloemfontein:

Bram Fischer House was once the home of one of South Africa's leading lawyers and a legendary political activist.
72 Reitz Ave, Westdene
Tel: (051) 405-8490
By appointment

The Military Museum(Queens Fort). The fort, completed in 1849, is on a koppie overlooking the city. It was used as a military headquarters, a hospital, a mental institution, and a jail. It features displays on the Difaquane, Anglo-Boer War, the two World Wars and the Struggle for democracy.
116 Church Street
Tel: (051) 447-5478
Fax: (051) 405-4259
Tue-Fri: 10:00-12:15; 13:00-16:00

The National Afrikaans Literary Museum and Research Centre is a repository of works by prominent Afrikaans writers and overviews of the development of Afrikaans literature. Archival material is housed in the Research Centre.
Tel: (051) 405-4034
Fax: (051) 405-4259
Mon-Fri: 7:30-12:15; 13:00-16:00
Sat: 9:00-12:00

The Afrikaans Music Museum traces the development of music in South Africa, and includes displays on well-known composers, and showcases old musical instruments and sheet music. In the same building the National Theatre Museum features displays on the development of South African theatre and exhibits costumes, photographs and furniture.
Free State Museums in South Africa
36 Aliwal Street
Tel: (051) 447-9609
Fax: (051) 447-6273
Mon-Fri: 7:30-12:15; 13:00-16:00
Sat: 9:00-12:00

Originally the official residence of the last three Presidents of the Republic of the Orange Free State, the Old Presidency, dating back to 1885, reflects their lifestyle (late Victorian) during the period 1886-1899. It houses a museum depicting their respective terms of office, and a cultural centre for art exhibitions, theatrical productions and musical events.
17 President Brand Street
Tel: (051)448-0949
Fax: (051)405-4259
Tues-Fri: 10:00-12:00; 13:00-16:00
Sun: 14:00-17:00

The War Museum not only gives visitors insights into the Anglo-Boer/South African War through its unique art collection, dioramas and exhibits, it also brings them closer to understanding the background against which the War took place. Visitors are afforded a glimpse into the life in the concentration camps and prisoner-of-war camps. The research library contains an extensive collection of Africana.
Tel: (051)447-0079
Fax: (051)447-3447
Mon-Fri: 9:00-16:30
Sat: 10:00-17:00
Sun: 14:00-17:00



The Riemland Museum, housed in the old synagogue, is a local theme museum of the Riemland District and also features displays on Jewish history.
Free State Museums in South Africa
Langmark Street
Tel: (05889) 22014
Fax: (05889) 21764
Tues: 08:00-12:00
Wed: 13:00-16:00
Fri: 09:00-12:00



Combining culture and food, the Catharina Brand Heritage Collection of local history is housed in a restaurant.
64 Kerk Street
Tel: (05191) 41367
Fax: (05191) 40305
Mon-Fri: 8:00-17:00; 18:00-22:00
Sat: 8:00-14:00; 18:00-22:00



The Transgariep Museum features, in thematic displays, the Griquas, the London Missionary Society, Emily Hobhouse, and Old Philippolis - the oldest town in the Free State.
Free State Museums in South Africa
Voortrekker Street
Tel: (015) 773-0216
Fax: (015) 773-0213
Mon-Fri: 10:00-12:00



The Welkom Museum houses displays of tourist attractions of the region, bird life, gold mining, and the careers of Welkom's leaders.
Cnr Graaff-Reinet and Tulbach Streets
Tel: (057) 391-3133
Fax: (057) 353-2482
Mon-Fri: 8:30-19:00
Sat: 9:00-12:00



Visitors to the Free State Voortrekker Museum can view displays on the history of the Voortrekkers in the Free State and their interaction with the local inhabitants.
Free State Museums in South Africa
Near the N1 to Johannesburg
Tel: (051) 881-0130
Mon-Fri: 10:00-12:15; 13:00-16:00

The Basotho Cultural Village depicts the lifestyle and architecture of the Southern Sotho. Visitors can participate in food tasting, music, and domestic activities.
In QwaQwa Highlands Park on the road between Phuthadijhaba and Clarens
Tel: (058) 721-0300
Fax: (058) 721-0304


Bloemfontein (Tempe)

The S. A. Armour Museum contains artefacts, objects, books, other publications and documents which relate to the history of South African armoured forces. There are also displays of armoured fighting vehicles, parts and accessories.
Free State Museums in South Africa
School of Armour, Frans Steynberg Street
Tel: (051) 402-1728
Fax: (051) 402-1736

The Florisbad Research Station, a satellite of the National Museum, is situated in an internationally important fossil locality which has produced a human skull dated to around 259 000 years ago as well as valuable archaeological and palaeontological material.
Florisbad, Soutpan, 40kms N-W of Bloemfontein on the S142 Bultfontein Road
Tel: (051) 447-9609
Fax: (051) 447-6273
By arrangement

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