The Old Harbour Museum was proclaimed ‘a Museum’ in 1972. The first Curator Mr Guy Clark was appointed in 1973. The area that had been neglected for years was cleaned up and the cement work repaired. Old fishing boats were collected and repaired for outdoor display. An indoor Museum was planned and eventually built along the slopes where many old fishing shacks stood in early days.
The Old Harbour Museum includes an open-air museum which is open 24 hours a day with boats, old sea wall, brine tanks and “bokkom” stands as well as an indoor museum. This houses exhibitions on natural history with whales as the most prominent feature as well as aquariums with fishes and inter-tidal creatures and on the cultural history of Hermanus, including angling and fishing papaphernalia.
The cottage houses a photographic exhibition of Old Hermanus dating as far back as the beginning of the century and includes prints from glass negatives taken by the famous photographer T D Ravenscroft whose studio was in Main Road. The Selkirk Room in the cottage is devoted to the trophies and memory of Bill Selkirk, including the jaws of his world recordbreaking shark. All the furniture displayed in the cottage belonged to Meester Paterson a leading figure in Hermanuspietersfontein at the turn of the century.
An indoor exhibition on whales (soon to be expanded to include sharks, fish and inter-tidal creatures) is open to the public six days a week and provides interesting information on the southern right whales which visit Hermanus every year to calve.
The museum has plans to re-introduce small fishing craft and the sale of fish to the harbour, and to procure accommodation for its cultural history exhibits in fishermen’s cottages in the old town nearby
Tel: 028 312 1475