The National Museum of Cultural History has items appealing to all, from the ancient art of the San to contemporary works of leading artists; from the distant history of Mapungubwe to apartheid in the recent past. Appropriately situated in the capital, this stately institution also features a programme of temporary exhibits.

Did you know?

Rock art showcased in the National Culural History Museum reflects the accessing of spiritual power by the San people through their trance dance.

The National Museum of Cultural History in Pretoria is housed in the Old Mint, a building of historical importance in South Africa's capital city.

Coins may no longer be produced here but what this building contains is just as valuable, including wide-ranging cultural and natural displays, and prized South African artworks.

So diverse are the collections here that any visitor is guaranteed to find an exhibit or two to offer hours of absorbing viewing.

One exhibit, titled 'Schroda' after a site in the ancient kingdom of Mapungubwe, displays early Iron Age clay figurines excavated from this World Heritage Site in the province of Limpopo. Over 1 000 years old, the sculptures relate to cultural practices such as initiation and lobola (the payment of cattle as a bride price).

There is also a large display of rock art, both paintings and engravings, with shamanic scenes in which trance is used to ascend to a spiritual world.

Works of iconic figures of the South African art world are on display along with South African crafts, including beading, weaving, basketry and embroidery.

Delving into recent apartheid history, you'll find a display featuring the forced removals of the Indian, African and Asian populations from the neighbourhoods of Lady Selborne and Marabastad in Pretoria in the 1960s.

The National Museum of Cultural History is a member of the Ditsong Museums, a group of eight Gauteng-based museums, seven of which are in Pretoria. With some five million objects stored behind the scenes, it also showcases some of its collections in an ongoing programme of themed displays.

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