James Hall Museum of Transport, Johannesburg
Did you know?An old mine locomotive that used compressed air is the inspiration for an upcoming new car.
Adults love it, children love it, motor and transport enthusiasts love it, and if you are interested in the history of land transport, you’ll also be captivated by the James Hall Museum of Transport.
The museum, founded in 1964 by the late James Hall to showcase his collection of vehicles, has grown considerably since those early days. These days his son, Peter, continues to collect and preserve vintage cars while presiding over a collection of more than 2 500 land transport items of all kinds, ranging from ox-wagons and horse-drawn carriages to tandems, trams and trolley cars.
It’s a big museum as you would expect with all these vehicles on display, so take time to wander round the five exhibition areas dedicated to different modes of land transport.
Start in the North Hall where there’s a splendid selection of motorcars – vintage, post-vintage, Pre-War and Post-War models. Don’t miss the oldest car on display, a sexy green Clement-Panhard from 1900.
Next stop is the Porch, where you can see steam trains of all kinds, including ones that date back to the South African War. There are also some vehicles that could be labelled environmentally friendly, such as Johannesburg's old animal-drawn carts that collected trash and night-soil.
The West Hall is a tram, bus and trolley stop. There’s a horse-drawn tram that rattled along the streets of Johannesburg from 1891 to 1902 at the incredible speed of 7km/h, and also Johannesburg’s last double-decker tram that went off the rails in 1961.
The upper and lower South Halls are dedicated to South Africa’s earliest form of transport – animal-drawn vehicles. Spot the stylish Surrey, a bulky family carriage, and don’t miss the Governess and Victoria carts – the taxis of their day.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
James Hall Museum of Transport
Tel: +27 (0)11 435 9485/7
How to get here
Your best bet is to take the Hop-On Hop-Off City Sightseeing bus with its multi-language commentary from Park Station or Gold Reef City. The James Hall Museum of Transport is one of its stops.
Best time to visit
The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 5pm.
Tours to do
The best way to see Johannesburg is on the City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off bus. It has 12 exciting stops including the Apartheid Museum, the World of Beer, Gold Reef City Theme Park and the Origins Centre at the University of the Witwatersrand.
What will it cost
Entrance is free, but donations are most welcome.
Length of stay
At least a couple of hours.
What to pack
Comfortable walking shoes.
What to eat
The Penny Farthing Tuck Shop sells drinks and snacks.