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Swakopmund Museum

Swakopmund Museum

Interesting Museum at the palm beach in Swakopmund

The Swakopmund Museum which was founded in 1951 is the largest privately run museum in Namibia. The Museum has numerours sections with displays of minerals, indigenous flora and fauna as well as historical and cultural artefacts just to name a few.

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Specifications

Type
Museum
Location
Swakopmund, at the Palm Beach
Activities
Museum visit

History of the Swakopmund Museum

During the early 1950’s, Swakopmund was a small and sleepy town wedged between the cold Atlantic Ocean and the hostile Namib Desert. It had long ago lost its role as a harbour city and was now nothing more than a holiday town. During the hot summer months many farmers and inhabitants of Windhoek come to Swakopmund to find relief from the heat further inland.   In an attempt to make Swakopmund more attractive for visitors, a competition was initiated by the Swakopmund Municipality. This competition was won by the local dentist, Dr Alfons Weber, and this led to the founding of the Swakopmund Museum in 1951.

In 1931 Dr Weber left his native Munich, Germany, to settle in the then Southwest Africa. In Swakopmund he opened his own dental practice, only to discover, that Swakopmund was too small for his practice. Regularly he therefore travelled by train to northern Southwest Africa (Namibia) to see his patients. He showed a great interest in virtually everything of his new home country and started to collect various artefacts like books, maps, household items, tools, etc. Many originated from the German colonial area but many were also hand crafted by the indigenous inhabitants.   

With the founding of the museum in 1951 the various items were first exhibited in an old wooden shed. Some nine years later and with the financial assistance from the Swakopmund Municipality, the state and private donors, the ruin of the old ‘Kaiserliche Zollstation’ (Imperial Customs Building) was rebuilt and until today is home of the museum.

Exhibits in the Swakopmund museum

Since its opening the number of exhibits has grown steadily and has become very versatile. It however concentrates on the history of Swakopmund and Namibia, its inhabitants as well as the Namibian flora, fauna and geology, in particular of the coastal region.

  • Excellent mineral displays with specimens especially from the Tsumeb Mine are shown.
  • The contrasting life of the Namib Desert and the Atlantic Ocean are clearly depicted by means of various dioramas displaying the seals of Cape Cross, birdlife in the coastal region and desert scenes.
  • The historical section concentrates with some excellent exhibits on the German colonial area.
  • Emphasizing the importance of the transport sector, an original ox-wagon which operated between Grootfontein and southern Angola some 100 years ago is on display. Also on display the carriage of the last German governor, a beautiful model of a dual locomotive and other exhibits.
  • The Rössing room concentrates on the mining operation of the Rössing mine.
  • The original furnishing of the old Adler Pharmacy is on display together with Dr Alfons Weber’s dental practice.
  • The culture of Namibia’s indigenous people is shown by a collection of original musical instruments, wood carvings, weapons and domestic utensils.
  • In 2007, with the closure of the Hansa Breweries, Namibia Breweries sponsored the old staff pub which now forms part of the Museum Café.

Location & opening times

The Museum is centrally locates below the lighthouse and at the Mole (“Palm Beach”). It is open daily from 10h00 to 13h00 and 14h00 to 17h00

Contact:

  • Tel: 064-402046
  • Email:
  • P.O. Box 361, Swakopmund, Namibia
  • Webpage: Swakopmund Museum

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