Pioneer Museum

The Pioneer open air Museum in Silverton is set in a restored Victorian homestead complete with horse mill, threshing floor and farming implements. A real turning back of the clock in South African farming culture. Take a guided tour around the farm, that includes cooking method demonstrations and farming techniques from yesteryear. Where else can you see hands-on early bread baked in an old clay oven, candle making with animal fat. Cows, goats, donkeys, ducks, chickens and peacocks roam the farmyard, adding to the atmosphere of the farm. A traditional T-shaped house complete with thatched roof and traditional dung and peach-pip floor is open for viewing. Even the original type of pioneer furniture is evident in the rooms to give one a true insight into what it must have been like for the original pioneers in this part of the country.

The Pioneer Museum in Silverton, Pretoria, is an open-air tribute to South African settler history. The original farmstead has been restored and preserved, giving visitors a rich insight into what life was like in South Africa in the 1800s.

Visitors to the Pioneer Museum can look forward to immersing themselves in settler history. There are several demonstrations on offer, including wheat grinding, coffee roasting, bread making, candle making and hide curing. Visitors are invited to participate in many of these demonstrations and learn a bit more about the settler lifestyle and customs. Enjoy a slice of bread made using the original farm mill, with homemade churned butter, or sample other traditional foods such as vetkoek (a typically South African kind of deep-fried fritter), prepared over an open fire, and kaiings (a snack similar to pork crackling).

The original homestead, built by Cape farmer David Botha in 1846, is a brilliant example of early settler architecture and resourcefulness, built using mud and anthills to form the walls and fireplace, and cow dung to set the floors. Examine beautiful and strange original furnishings, such as carved tables, cast-iron kitchenware and porcelain items bought from Cape traders, or explore the farmyard and perhaps even help milk a cow.

The Botha family lived on the farm, called Hartebeespoort, until 1851, when they sold it to a Mr Vermeulen, who planted pomegranate trees - a few of which still remain on the property today. In 1874 the farm was sold to German immigrant Hans Mundt. Mundt was able to capitalise on the Pilgrim’s Rest gold rush by building a halfway station for travellers to the area, because the farm was situated on the main transport route from Natal.

In 1900, silver was discovered on the farm and part of the land was bought up by the Silver Mining Company. When Mundt passed away in 1900, his son inherited the land. A Victorian house was built and the original thatched house was used for storage. In 1961, the buildings on the farm were donated to the municipality of Silverton and declared historical monuments. In 1975, the farm was declared a museum and opened to the public.

The museum is home to an amphitheatre, shop, lapa (thatched entertainment area), picnic and braai (barbeque) area, and there is a hall that can be hired for private functions. Phone ahead and arrange a guided tour around the farmstead, followed by refreshments, including ginger biscuits and boeretroos (coffee) under the trees.

Admission

Contact for pricing

Visiting hours

09:00AM - 12:00PM