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Museums in Simonstown

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Museums in Simonstown

South African Navy Museum, Simon’s Town

The Navy Museum is situated in the original navy dockyard magazine/storehouse which dates from 1743/1744. The museum houses a wonderful collection of ship and submarine models, a life-size ship’s bridge, naval guns, torpedoes, sea mines, anti-submarine mortar, diving equipment, naval uniforms, portraits of naval officers and much more. The original dockyard area is also home to St George’s Anglican Church.

Simon’s Town Museum

“The Residency”, where the Simon’s Town Museum is housed, was originally built as the winter home for the Cape Governor in the days when the Dutch East India Company occupied the Cape. The museum moved to this historic venue in 1982 and portrays the cultural history of Simon’s Town and its involvement with the Royal Navy and the Dutch East India Company. There are artefacts on display from the South Peninsula Khoisan peoples. The story of Simon Van der Stel, who founded Simon’s Town in 1743, is well documented, as well as the role of the Royal Navy who occupied the port in the 1800s. There are displays showing the numerous schools, hospitals, churches (including a mosque) and cemeteries which were established in Simon’s Town over the years. The military room portrays the involvement of Simon’s Town in the Boer War, World War 1 and World War II. There is also a Dolls House collection as well as displays showing the various royal personages and political leaders who have visited Simon’s Town over the years. Of particular interest is the “Able Seaman Just Nuisance” display with many photographs of this famous canine member of the Royal navy. There is an interesting display of old pubs in Simon’s Town. There are gaol cells where slaves were housed and punished.  A whole room is devoted to a shipwreck display and there is a magnificent yellowwood tree in the museum courtyard which has flourished due to its sheltered position and underground water supply.

The Heritage Museum

This museum was opened in Amlay House in 1998 by the Noorul Islam Historical Society. The Amlay family lived here from 1858 until they were forcibly removed by the Nationalist Government in 1967 when the area was declared a white group area. After a period of 28 years, the family members returned to their home. The museum is a reminder of the rich Muslim heritage which existed in Simon’s Town from 1743 when the Dutch East India Company occupied the Cape. There are various displays which include photographs, bridal and Hadj attire, cooking utensils and information relating to the forced removals of 1967.

The Warrior Toy Museum

This is situated in the main street, St George’s Street, and is a delight for children and adults alike. On display are two fully operational railroads, 4000 model cars, lead soldiers, 500 dolls and teddy bears, dolls houses, model ships etc. Should you be a collector, there are items on sale including cars, buses, ships, planes, lead soldiers etc.

THE SAS Assegai Museum

This museum is housed in a retired navy submarine in the Simon’s Town harbour. Tours take the visitor through the Torpedo Room, Officers’ Quarters, the Engine Room, the Junior and Senior Ratings Mess Rooms, the Operations and Control Rooms etc. The tours last approximately an hour and are guided by ex submarine officers or experienced volunteers.

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