oa South African Journal of Cultural History - Die Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek se eerste staatsmuseum en wetenskaplike verenigings

Volume 5, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1018-0745



The fIrst scientifIc institutions of the South African Republic originated during the presidency of T.F. Burgers (1872-1877). The Republic's fIrst State Museum was established in 1873 at Potchefstroom, under the auspices of the State Natural Science Association, to promote knowledge of the country's mineral resources. However, as the government neglected to provide funds and the seven directors of the association lacked appropriate knowledge and experience the museum was used infrequently and the association remained static. Although the museum survived the British annexation of the Republic in 1877, it was destroyed during the First War of Independence. The curator, A.F. Schubart, was appointed in 1892 as temporary clerk to help establish the new State Museum in Pretoria. Early in 1874, President Burgers took the lead also in establishing the Transvaal Literary and ScientifIc Society in Pretoria. The lectures arranged by this society reflect the active role played by English speaking clergy in the dissemination of scientifIc knowledge. The society did not exist for long, but one of its leading fIgures, James Buchanan, shortly thereafter had more success with a similar venture in the Orange Free State.

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