Bartolomeu Dias Museum was established on 3 February 1989 as a culmination of the 1988 Dias Festival. On the occasion of its 26th anniversary, the museum has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Southern Cape. It boasts a rich and diverse offering, including a life-size replica of the ship in which Dias landed at Mossel Bay in 1488 and an exhibition on the history of slavery.
Many visitors, both foreign and local, have enjoyed the exhibitions as well as the institution’s online presence. Regular celebrations of local, national and international commemorative days over the years have continued to build visitor numbers.
The museum also designs and presents education and outreach programmes to learners from local schools. The content is aligned with the educational curriculum. This creates an opportunity for school-goers to enrich their learning outside the classroom.
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) is helping the museums of the Western Cape to stay relevant and interesting in the Internet age. Charlene Houston, Deputy Director: Museum Services, says that DCAS is supporting museums to use technology in ways which encourage visitors to interact with displays rather than just looking at them. “This is a year of change. Bartolomeu Dias Museum’s displays will be upgraded this year to appeal to a techno-savvy, youthful audience and also to reflect the local history of the people of Mossel Bay”, she said. Houston encouraged members of the public to share their suggestions for the upgrade with museum staff.
Bartolomeu Dias Museum has issued an open invitation to members of the public to help celebrate its 26th birthday on Sunday, 1 February 2015 at 10:30. A giant decorated cake will be shared with everyone in attendance. The museum will be open the whole day and entry is free.