In the original and best meaning of the word, the Himeville Museum is an amateur effort; by which I mean, it is a collective and collaborative labour of love. Housed in the building which once served the town as a prison, it is a homegrown collection of mostly colonial artefacts donated by locals. There is a living room, kitchen, pantry, adult’s and children’s bedrooms, schoolroom, post office complete with switchboard (I speak under correction, but I don’t think direct dialling would have come to a tiny country place like Himeville until the late 1970s), as well as rooms devoted to farming, fishing and military activities. Small exhibits devoted to the San and the amaBhaca, but predominantly colonial. All sorts of well-used machinery and a couple of carriages and carts in the courtyard. Some clothing, mostly in very fragile condition, and a room full of all sorts of “indoor” items: card cases, button hooks, prayer books, an apothecary’s scale, a whole bunch of Brownie cameras...
Inevitably, given that the exhibits came from people’s homes and were subjected to actual use, the twentieth century is in some areas better represented than the ninteenth. And the organic manner in which the collection evolved probably means some items are a little over-represented while there may be gaps in other areas. For me, however, none of this detracted from a profoundly pleasurable interlude. If heritage and history is your thing – it is mine – this museum is unmissable if you are in the area, and is maybe even worth a bit of a detour.
Opening hours are clearly stated: Tuesday to Saturday 9 till 3, Sunday 9 till 12:30, closed on Mondays. No entrance fee, but there is a box for donations.
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