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New heritage museum in CT

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With the start of Heritage Month, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) and the Department of Transport and Public Works have launched the brand new Cape Town Museum, located in the old Standard Bank building in Adderley Street. This 1880s heritage building is known to many as “the Queen of Adderley Street”, and has now been given a contemporary purpose that reflects the diversity of the City and its heritage. The Cape Town Museum is a new-generation heritage institution that will provide innovative ways for local residents and tourists to interact with the collection.

It is expected that the museum will first be proclaimed as a provincial museum and then become a regional museum for the City of Cape Town metropolitan area. It will become a key access point for residents to obtain an overview of the history and development of their city. The Museum will also act as a reliable introduction for tourists to Cape Town.

Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport Anroux Marais said she strongly supports the museum’s goal of reflecting the diverse heritage of all the people of Cape Town.
The Museum will be hosting permanent exhibitions on the history and development of Cape Town from the earliest times. Visitors can also expect to see exhibitions on contemporary Cape Town, and on the Cape Town of the future. There will also be gallery space for special temporary and travelling exhibitions of, for example, works in the WCG art collection, and historical photographs and artefacts from the Western Cape Archives and Records Service. Other exhibitions, including international exhibitions, can also be presented in this venue as opportunities arise.

In addition, the favourable lease conditions will enable the WCG to save a significant amount of money on office costs by housing employees on-site.

“As they share space with the Cape Town Museum, I am sure that Heritage Western Cape and the directorates responsible for Arts, Culture, Language, Heritage, Museums and Geographical Names will be happy in their new home,” said Minister Marais.

“Working in a place filled with so much history, heritage, memories and beauty is a dream for some, and these staff members are lucky to be working in the Queen of Adderley Street.”

Marais said the launching of the Cape Town Museum would not have been possible without the Department of Transport and Public Works. This department negotiated a lease on very favourable terms with Standard Bank of South Africa Limited.

The agreement provides for the WCG to pay a nominal rental of R100 per year for 2 000.9 m2 of museum space and 1 659 m2 of office space for an initial period of ten years, renewable for ten years. Standard Bank has undertaken to bear the cost of bringing the lifts and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems into good working order before the lease commences. The lessee will be responsible for rates and taxes, insurance, internal and external maintenance, operating expenses and all the costs ordinarily associated with occupation of the premises.

The lease also provides a pre-emptive right for the WCG to acquire the building if the Bank receives an offer to purchase from a third party during the course of the lease.

Minister Donald Grant of the Department of Transport and Public Works stressed the value of this public-private partnership which will allow the establishment of a world class museum in the city centre, as well as provide significant cost savings to the WCG for high-quality office space.

“In the light of recent budget cuts, this is good news for the provincial government,” said Grant. “By relocating DCAS staff to the Old Standard Bank Building, office space requirements will be reduced by 1 200 m2, meaning a potential saving of over R646 000 a year. It is clear that we are making progress in our aim to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of our property holdings.”

The present day building
The present day building

Johan van Wyk, Standard Bank Provincial Head for the Western Cape said: “Standard Bank has a proud 153 year heritage in South Africa. Having grown from a single branch in Port Elizabeth to a bank that employs more than 50 000 people across 20 geographies on the continent, Standard Bank is proud to be a part of the City of Cape Town’s past and future history, and hope that the Queen of Adderley Street will continue to serve the people of Cape Town with duty and dignity, as she has done for more than 130 years.

“The Cape Town Museum and associated office space for WCG cultural affairs staff shows how the preservation and promotion of heritage can be brought together to reduce operating costs, and boost urban renewal and social cohesion in the city centre, better together.”

Members of the public and heritage organisations are encouraged to make submissions about what they would like to see in the displays.

If this important goal is met, local inhabitants will benefit from a sense of belonging and identity as they engage with the collection. This will promote social inclusion in the City and in the Western Cape as a whole. Suggestions can be sent to the following dedicated email address:

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