Museum Interaction

At the end of July, traditionally a quiet period in visitor numbers, FMM’s staff undertook an educational visit some of Cape Town museums, the aim being to see, understand and compare the challenges they face and how they set about overcoming them. The ease the interaction, staff was divided into two groups, one per day.

A common visit for both groups was the South African Naval Museum in Simon’s Town, which is still housed in the original stores and magazine building that once formed part of the Royal Navy in 1810. The museum has on display a very interesting collect of heavy armaments, photos and memorabilia, and has just opened a new display on the modern SA Navy. It was a very informative visit with topics including conservation, maintenance and education being explained.

One group also visited the Stellenbosch Village Museum, which comprises four houses dating between 1709 and 1849, all of them restored and decorated with period furniture. This is a typical house museum where tour guides dress in period attire and replicate some of the daily tasks of the time while presenting the tour. The other group’s second destination was the Rupert Art Museum. This too was a fantastic experience, and exposed FMM staff to South Africa’s master artists. Again, the focus of attention was on the preservation and display techniques used in an art museum.

The visits were an education for all involved, in particular how the different tour guides interpret and communicate the background of their respective displays across to visitors. Although the museums were different in content, everyone learned a little from each other on the best techniques to help the public enjoy their visit.