Port Elizabeth Museum

The Port Elizabeth Museum, which blends cultural with natural history, is the third oldest in South Africa and is the parent unit of Bayworld. The museum consists of a Dinosaur, Marine, Bird, Maritime History, Costume and Local History Halls, as well as a Curiosity Corner, Xhosa Beadwork Gallery and the First People of the Bay exhibit. Temporary exhibits in the fields of natural science and cultural history are regularly on display in the Museum.

Particularly noteworthy exhibits are the 15m skeleton of one of the last Southern right whales harpooned in Nelson Mandela Bay; a life-sized reconstruction of the giant local prehistoric dinosaur known as Algoasaurus; a replica of the Dias Cross; and a 5m bronze cannon dated 1640, recovered from a Portuguese galleon wrecked near Port Elizabeth.

The Dinosaur Hall

The Dinosaur Hall traces the stages of development of life on Earth from some 300 million years ago. The display cases exhibit fossils, dioramas and life-size models of prehistoric reptiles. Meet a life-size model of Algoa Bay's very own dinosaur, Algoasaurus. Genuine fossilised bone fragments, which were discovered in Kirkwood near Port Elizabeth are displayed alongside Algoasaurus.

Maritime History Hall

Maritime History Hall exhibits tell a story of shipping of by-gone years, early explorers of the African coast and the lure of trade with the East. Artefacts from shipwrecks found near Port Elizabeth, a model of the Dias padrao and various ship models are featured. The landing basket at the entrance to the hall was used to load and off-load passengers onto the decks of tugs. You can try lifting a small portion of a canon similar to those from the Portuguese galleon, Sacramento, which was wrecked near Schoenmakerskop more than 300 years ago.

The Marine Hall

The Marine Hall features a number of marine invertebrate groups and various types of fish. A southern right whale skeleton, suspended from the ceiling, dominates the hall. This was one of the last whales to be harpooned in Nelson Mandela Bay. Other interesting features are the coelacanth and shark models displayed in the Sharks - Magnificent and Misunderstood exhibit.  Some of the earlier models of fishes were carved from wood and painted. The more recent models are fibreglass casts.

Curiosity Corner

Curiosity Corner is the closest you'll get to an old-fashioned museum. Human and animal anatomical models, medieval armour and weaponry, unusual musical instruments, skeletons and various odds and ends are exhibited to arouse curiosity! Most of these items were donated by members of the public – the origin and history of some are questionable.

The Xhosa Gallery

The Xhosa Gallery displays the history of the development of local Xhosa beadwork and culture, as well as the genealogies of the various clans. Interesting colour and pattern combinations reveal messages of love and tradition.

The First People of the Bay Exhibition

The First People of the Bay Exhibition traces the origins and showcases the lifestyles and cultural practices of the indigenous people of Nelson Mandela Bay, the San and the Khoekhoen.  It further looks at the impact of colonisation of southern Africa on the lives, the destiny of these people and how a single Khoekhoe woman, Sarah Baartman, came to be an icon of international significance.

The Costume Hall

The Costume Hall features fashion garments from the 1920s to the 1980s, also looking at more avant-garde fashion design in 2015.

The History of Algoa Bay Exhibition

The History of Algoa Bay Exhibition tells the story of the Bay from its formation100 million years ago, touches on the early navigators who visited the Bay, the local inhabitants, the Frontier Wars, prominent characters in the history of the region, the origin of Port Elizabeth and the pictorial history of the Port Elizabeth Museum.

Temporary Display - Africa's Lost World

A striking exhibition at the Museum featuring dinosaurs from Africa is sure to delight young and old. A number of the dinosaurs have been fitted with mechanisms allowing sound and movement. Of the dinosaurs featured are a sauropod, the Algoasaurus, which lived in the area today known as the Algoa Basin; a stegosaur, Paranthodon Africanus, a creature with the smallest brain-to-body size ratio of any animal; and a large predatory dinosaur from the Sahara Desert area, larger than the American Tyrannosaurus rex. 

New Temporary Display

The Port Elizabeth Museum's Research Department presents a small marine mammal temporary display in the foyer of the museum entitled: The Graham Ross Marine Mammal Collection Celebrates 50 Years. The first poster gives a brief history of the establishment of the marine mammal collection and its growth. The second poster discusses what is in the collection and the third poster explains a new research project based on the analysis of the diet of Southern Ocean fur seals. Also on display are a model of a full-grown male Subantarctic fur seal and three specimens of skulls of seals.

Maritime Gallery Boat 2 Curiosity display 2 The Costume Hall at Bayworld Outdoor Dinosaur Display Dinosaur Hall at Bayworld
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