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De Wet’s Huis - Photographic Museum PDF Print E-mail

During October and November of 1983 the museum staff dismantled the old Dutch Reform Sunday School house donated by the DR Church and transported the numbered stones and timber to Lemm’s Corner for re-erection. In 1987 this cottage was rebuilt on the Fishermen’s Village by the next curator, Guy Clarke and his team.

The De Wet’s Huis cottage at the Fishermen’s Village houses a photographic exhibition of old Hermanus dating as far back as the beginning of the last century and includes many photos printed from glass negatives taken by the famous photographer T D Ravenscroft. The Selkirk room exhibits more trophies, along with the jaws of the world record shark, caught by this remarkable man. The furniture displayed in the cottage belong to Meester Will Paterson, a leading figure in Hermanus at the turn of the last century and son of Scotty Paterson, one of the founders of Hermanus.

A conventional herb garden with labelling has been established in front of the cottage.

 
Whale House Museum PDF Print E-mail

By early 1990's whales became a chosen tourist attraction. Hermanus became known as the heart of the Whale Route and the museum has one of the best close up whale watching spots in town as well as a telescope. On 24 June 1991 a member of the Board of Trustees & chairman of the Friends of the Old Harbour Museum, Jose Burman, had the foresight to propose a whale museum on an open section of the Fishermen's Village. A whale museum to inform and educate the many local visitors and learners, as well as national and international tourists, who view the beautiful whales in Walker Bay. This museum will be entirely dedicated to whale exhibits, specially the southern right, and anything pertaining to cetaceans.  Architect Pat Riley designed the ‘Whale House’ and plans were ready by the beginning of 1994. Fundraising to build was started and the support and response of the local community was excellent. The building was completed in 3 phases as funds became available, during the chairmanship of the Board of Trustees, Hans Moore: (1) Lecture Room – built by Richmond MacIntyre (1995); (2) Whale House foundation, shop, office & toilets - built by Richmond MacIntyre (1996); (3)Main Hall - built by Bruce Green (1998).

The Whale House consist of an exhibition hall especially designed to house a suspended whale skeleton and whale exhibition. Establishing a natural & cultural history exhibition in the Whale House – ‘The Whales of Walker Bay’ (Transformation Projects of the Old Harbour museum - first phase).


The adjacent  Lecture Room was previously used by members of the public for lectures, talks, functions, exhibitions and arbitrations(CCMA). Since July 2007 'The Whale Show' can be viewed at either 10:00 or 15:00. It is a 25 minute audio visual show compiled by artist Noel Ashton. The show sponsored by IFAW gives a superb account of these magnificient cetaceans.

The search for a 'right' whale skeleton was on. In 1998 negotiations was started with the Technical Division of Museum Service (Dep of Cultural Affairs) to do the research & compile a world-class exhibition on cetaceans. In July 2003 a suitable skeleton was found after many unsuccessful attempts. A young female Southern Right whale washed up on the rocks at Onrus River. She was exactly the right size. Recovery of the bones were done by taxidermist, Piet Pretorius assisted by the Overstrand Municipality and Hermanus Coast Care. Because it was at the beginning of the school holidays, a lot of interest was shown from visitors and many parents had to keep inquisitive children away from touching the smelly bones.

 

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HISTORICAL FACTS

Hermanus started in 1855
Allengenski Complex built in 1870
Harbour wall was built in 1904
Crane was built in 1915
Gutting tables were built in 1935
Last boats in Old Harbour 1958 

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