Iziko South African Museum

Iziko South African Museum

The Iziko SA Museum is one of South Africa's National Museums, located in Cape Town. It was created in 1825.

The museum is organized on four levels and hosts a variety of exhibitions, from rock art to fossils, marine animals and meteorites.

Ground level

On this level, you can find:

- People past to present= consisting of three separate exhibitions: "The Power of Rock Art" (on the ideas, knowledge and beliefs expressed in San rock art); "African Cultures" (material culture of Southern African hunter-gatherers and agriculturalists in historic times, as well as displays of material from Nguni and Sotho people, also collections from the Great Zimbabwe); "Lynenburg Heads" (artifacts from the early iron age, symbols of the ritual life of early agriculturalists in South Africa).

- Karoo fossils= dioramas of mammal-like reptiles (they look like dinosaurs but are not) that lived in the Karoo region 250 million years ago.

- World of water= depicting life in South Africa's oceans, comprises: "Coelacanth" (the caste of the first Coelacanth discovered in 1938, with information on the biology and evolutionary history of this "living fossil"); "Ocean Giants" (features the longest and heaviest species of bony fish and the largest of all invertebrates).

- Southern oceans= animal life in the Sub-antarctic region.

- Whale well= a unique collection of whale casts and skeletons, to be seen from all floors; includes a 20.5 metre blue whale skeleton. You can also listen to the song of the humpback whale.

- Discovery room= a "hands-on" experience of real specimens and activities that encourage learning through discovery.

Level 1

On this level, you can find:

- Sharkworld= all about the diversity, biology and conservation of sharks, skates, rays, and chimeras. Includes massive megatooth shark jaws and an audiovisual centre.

- Iziko planetarium= an extraordinary audio-visual experience expounding the wonders of the universe. Monthly flyers on current productions are available at the museum's entrance.

- Our place in the universe= a display depicting a cosmic zoom to view the universe on an ever increasing scale, reaching back to almost the very beginning of the universe.

- Meteorites= features three large iron meteorites.

Level 2

On this level, you can find:

- Mammals= mainly Southern African mammals, including a foal of the extinct quagga.

- Birds= Southern African and exotic birds, avian evolution, dioramas of waterbirds and seabirds.

- Wonders of nature= found on the mezzanine level overlooking the bird gallery. Features a selection of objects showing the beauty and diversity of natural form.

- History of the SA Museum= shows the history of the museum from its beginnings in 1825 to until 1975 (out-of-date and to be removed soon).

- Mindspace= on-line resource centre.

- Indigenous knowledge= an important part of South Africa's heritage. This exhibition is a window on indigenous ways of using natural resources.

- There are also a collection of South African and foreign minerals, an exhibition on the biology of bats and a geological model of Table Mountain.

Level 3

On this level, you can find:

- Stone bones of the ancient Karoo= focuses on 250 million year old mammal-like reptile (therapsids) fossils from the Karoo with reconstructions of what they might have looked like. Features the evolution of mammals from the therapsids, and the End-Premian Extinction- believed to be the biggest extinction event the Earth has ever experienced.


* [http://www.iziko.org.za/sam/index.html The Museum's official webpage]

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