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Observatory Museum

10 Bathurst Street, Grahamstown, South Africa
(046) 622 2312
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83%
Ranked #3 of 15 Attractions in Grahamstown
Type: History Museums, Observatories/ Planetariums, Museums
Owner description: This odd house is an eclectic melange of architectural styles, the whimsy of amateur astronomer...
More attraction details
Attraction details
Type: History Museums, Observatories/ Planetariums, Museums
Owner description: This odd house is an eclectic melange of architectural styles, the whimsy of amateur astronomer Henry Carter Galpin. Locals would set their watches by the time on Galpin’s clock tower.
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18 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Somerset West, Western Cape, South Africa
Top Contributor
119 reviews 119 reviews
70 attraction reviews
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2014

The camera obscura was a revelation! Not sure what I was expecting, but I was astounded and amazed - worth it just for that. I was disgusted at the blatant and forthright manner in which the "guide/operator" asked for a tip after the talk. Disgraceful: the authorities should put a stop to that. It is unprofessional and gives them a... More 

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Paternoster, South Africa
Top Contributor
102 reviews 102 reviews
22 attraction reviews
73 helpful votes 73 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2014 via mobile

The camera obscura is the highlight and a must see. Objected though to the way a tin was produced at the end of the presentation for donations. Surely the staff are paid ? The museum is choc full of interesting Victorian exhibits but they now need an upgrade on their presentation. The house and the garden also needs TLC .

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Lagos, Nigeria
Top Contributor
89 reviews 89 reviews
26 attraction reviews
139 helpful votes 139 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 24, 2013

The camera obscura is facinating as is the way they used to set the Grahamstown time. All the rooms provide a sense of the early years of Grahamstown with little interesting facts thrown in for interest.

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auckland
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2013

The town had a lot to offer as a tourist and we found it very tidy/ save as the people were very friendly. People willing to help you if you get lost but over all places easy to find

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Grahamstown, South Africa
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
4 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2013

Worth a visit and the curators are so friendly and happy to have visitors pop by. The camera obscura is the highlight for sure as is the visit to this Victorian style building that used to belong to the local watchmaker.

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Darwin
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
10 attraction reviews
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2013

I loved this quirky little museum and the 'real' sense you got of how people would have lived there back in the 1800's. The camera obscura was fascinating; I suppose in a way it was the world's first 'reality show' where people could spy on one another's activities?! The museum staff were friendly and chatty and we spent a very... More 

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Eastern Cape, South Africa
2 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2013

The Observatory is worthwhile for the novelty of the 'camera obscura' which gives you a reflected view of the whole of central Grahamstown -- for a low price. The science behind the camera obscura it is interesting; watching pedestrians and spotting landmark sites around town is good fun! The rest of the museum is a bit 'olde-world' i.e. glass display... More 

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Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
8 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2013

Amazing technology from years back Interesting to see it actually work Interesting museum with many reminders of early settle life

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Grahamstown, South Africa
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
8 attraction reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2012

You have to visit on a sunny day so you can enjoy the views on the top - there is a really nice surprise I don't want to spoil. I take all my visitors there. The museum itself is old

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Grahamstown, South Africa
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2012

Unassuming museum with fabulous camera obscura working with lenses and mirrors. At first it seems odd to see the town projected in colour on the cement disk. Some other oddities like other victorian technology and a quaint tableau of lifelike doll-figures in the Victorian kitchen in the basement.

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