National Museum of Namibia
- museum acre -
Situated in Robert Mugabe Avenue (opposite Alte Feste), the Administration, Curation, Research and Education services are located at the Museum ACRE. Also to be found on the premises are the study collections as well as a well-stocked reference library. And of course you can find us EduVentures. The oldest part of the building served as the first school in Windhoek and was build in 1907/08.
"Heritage Conservation is our business"
In 2003 the EduVentures program was launched by curator for arachnology and myriapodology, Ms Tharina Bird. The aim of the programme was to mainly involve less advantaged children in the exploration of Namibia’s biodiversity. Until today, EduVentures is still located in the Museum ACRE. Our aim now is actively providing environmental experiences for mainly disadvantaged Namibian youth whilst simultaneously contributing to the continued expansion of Namibian scientific knowledge and deepening the collective understanding of its natural and cultural heritage, all of which are crucial to the conservation & sustainable use of Namibia’s environment.
Open: Monday – Friday
Opening hours: 8h00 – 13h00 / 14h00 – 17h00
For more information contact the National Museum of Namibia
Address: 59 Robert Mugabe Ave., Windhoek
Postal: P.O.Box 1203, Windhoek, Namibia
Phone: +264 61 276800
Fax: +264 61 228636
How to get to the Museum
History of the Museum
The building complex, presently housing Museum ACRE, is often referred to as "Kaiserliche Realschule" or "Emma Hoogenhout School". It was the first school in Windhoek. In the true sense of the word, it can be regarded as the "mother of schools" in Windhoek as six schools developed from it.
The oldest part of the building complex, which comprises the northern wing, dates back to 1907. Soon after the building plans had been drawn up, the German Imperial Government commenced with construction work. Initially the school was known as "Kaiserliche Regierungsschule" (Imperial Government School).
There were four school classes, consisting of 33 boys and 41 girls. In January 1909 the school changed its name to "Kaiserliche Realschule" and opened its doors with a new secondary level. Rising numbers of learners caused by increasing numbers of immigrants soon necessitated the division of the two school levels.
Largely due to the efforts of Emma Hoogenhout, the wife of the then Administrator for South West Africa, Colonel Hoogenhout, who took a particularly keen interest in the wellbeing of this school, the school was renamed "Emma Hoogenhout School" in 1948. In August 1988, after 80 years, the old building's era as a school had ended.
Leutwein Street School
During 1916, the teachers and pupils of the Realschule had to vacate the building as it was seized by the occupational forces to serve as an English school for their children and those of immigrants. It became known as the "Leutwein Street School".
World War I
After the outbreak of World War I, part of the school was converted into temporary barracks for members of the 1st Reserve Company. In 1915 most teachers were recruited for service and tuition had to go on with temporary teaching staff. During these years several teachers also acted as honorary curators for the "Landesmuseum" - the predecessor of the present National Museum.
During 1989 the whole building complex, which was by then in bad need of repair, was completely renovated. A year later the Department of Civic Affairs & Manpower transferred the building complex to the State Museum, which formed part of the Department of Education. In 1991 the building was occupied by the State Museum and Library Services of the Ministry of Basic Education, Sport & Culture. By 1992 Library Services had acquired alternative accommodation, and since then the building complex houses the National Museum's administrative, curatorial, research and education sections, as well as the library and national collections. It has since become known as "Museum ACRE" (Museum administration, Curation, Research and Education).
For many decades the fascinating pre-history of this country has drawn many visiting amateurs and scientists, and many archaeological made their way into the museum. The first archaeologist was appointed by the museum in 1959. Today, the museum provides the only professional archaeological research and curatorial service within the Government of Namibia. The Archaeology Laboratory is also the legal repository for archaeological collections in Namibia and presently houses more than 350,000 objects as well as documentation on 3,500 archaeological sites.
The first objects in this collection were obtained by the museum as early as the pre-World-War-I-period. Today the Ethnography Collection consists of approximately 4,400 objects and almost 8,000 photographic records of Namibia's unique cultural heritage. The collection was mainly brought together by private collectors as well as by ethnologists, who were employed by the museum. The first ethnologist was appointed 1963, which marks the beginning of active research and selective collecting for the the study collection.
This collection includes groups such as spiders, scorpions, solifuges, mites and ticks. The Arachnida Collection at the museum is the naional repository for arachnids from Namibia. Although started in the early 1970s it was only activley studied and enlarged since 1983. Containing ca. 120,000 specimens, it is one of the largest collections of Arachnida in Africa. Departmental activities include research, surveys, identifications, curation and databasing of collections. Education forms a large component of this department's activities.
The Herpetology Collection was formally started in 1958 by the museum's technican-taxidermist, who took a particular interest in reptiles. During the early 1960s remarkable discovveries on the socalled 'third' eye of lizards were made by the museum's director. A fulltime herpetologist was appointed in 1983. Today the collection houses thousands of reptiles and amphibians. Recently a large collection of specimens, collected by officers of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism was also incorporated into the museum's collection.
Though only established in 1970, the Insect Collection presently contains ca. 1,500,000 specimens in its primary collection. Approximately 15,000 specimens are annually added to the collection through active collecting. The entomology department provides accurate information on request to a wiede range of users, and identifies insects for government bodies, research institutions and the general public.
The Ichthyology Collection houses approximately 3,500 batches of specimens of both freshwater and marine fishes. With the appointment of a professional officer in 1970 emphasis in research was placed on the fishes of the northern rivers of Namibia. Various specimens of freshwater fishes collected by researchers outside the museum, are continuously received.
The museum obtained some specimens of small mammals, shoulder mounts and horns of larger mammals in the early years of its existence, while the first biologist working mainly in the field of mammalogy was appointed in 1965. The aim of the Mammal Department is to collect representative specimens of smaller mammals from all corners of Namibia, to preserve these, and to conduct scientific research on the collection, thereby developing knowledge regarding Namibian mammals. The public is invited to visit and make use of the collection for educational purposes. The Mammal Collection comprises over 40,000 specimens, which include mammal skins, skulls, skeletal material, DNA tissue, anatomical (wet) specimens, and plaster casts of mammal tracks.
The Myriapoda Collection presently contains approximately 678 specimens of Diplopoda (millipedes) and 263 specimens of Chilopoda (centipedes). The collection is curated by members of the Arachnida section.
During the 1940s the museum received the first collections of bird's eggs and mounted specimens, but the Bird Collection was only formally started by the museum's technician-taxidermist in 1958. Active research commenced during the early 1980s when a professional officer was appointed. The bird Collection contains over 10,500 specimens, which includes study skins, mounted specimens, skeletons, anatomical specimens, DNA tissue samples, eggs, nest, slides, photographs and video recording of birds. Bird species are numbered according to Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa.
The National Museum Library
The humble beginnings of the Museum library date back to the founding of the first library in Windhoek in 1924, which was, similar to the museum, placed under the control of the S.W.A. Scientific Society in 1926. Until the museum became a full State-controlled museum in 1957, the library was administered on a part-time basis, and remained under the control of the Scientific Society until 1962. At that time, most of the books were left to the Scientific Society, while many of the scientific journals were retained by the museum. In addition, the museum's director actively began collecting scientific reprints, journals and publications from other research institutions for the museum. The publication of the museum journal "Climbebasia" in 1962, which introduced an exchange program with others institutions worldwide strongly contributed towards the expansion of the library. The first full-time librarian, who held the post for more than thirty years, was appointed in 1969. Today the library houses over 6,600 book titles and 1,550 current periodicals. Although only members of staff are allowed to take out books and journals, students and members of the general public are also encouraged to make use of the library.