Музеи мира - World museums
The Albany Museum, the second oldest museum in southern Africa, was founded on 11 September 1855, growing out of the Graham's Town Medical-Chirugical Society (later called the Literary, Scientific and Medical Society). Between 1859 and 1882 the Town Clerk of Grahamstown, Mr Glanville, served as the first Curator and he was succeeded by his daughter, Miss Mary Glanville until 1895 when Dr Selmar Schonland became the first director of the Museum. Initially the Museum was housed in several small facilities around Grahamstown, including the top floor of the City Hall, before moving to its permanent home in Somerset Street in 1902. This building now houses the core block of the present Natural Sciences Museum.
With Dr Schonland, came the historic ties which the Museum has with Rhodes University. In 1902 he addressed the Cape Parliament, speaking for the establishment of a university in Grahamstown, and persuaded the trustees of Cecil Rhodes's estate to pledge funds for the establishment of Rhodes University College. When the College was established in 1904 Dr Schonland became its first professor of Botany. In 1910 Dr Schonland was succeeded as director by Dr John Hewitt.
John Hewitt's research lay in the fields of vertebrate zoology and archaeology. He undertook archaeological excavations at the Wilton and Howison's Poort type sites. During this period Grahamstown's long-standing affair with fishes started. In 1930 Dr J.L.B. Smith, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry at Rhodes, identified and catalogued the Museum's marine fish collection. The following year Mr Rex Jubb sent the first small collection of freshwater fishes from Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) to the Museum.
On the 6th September 1941 the Museum suffered a devastating fire with a great loss of exhibited material. Fortunately the library and most of the research collections were saved. In 1952 the Museum's collection of fishes was loaned to the University's Department of Ichthyology. Three years later the Museum celebrated its centenary and, in 1957, its staff became Provincial employees.
Dr John Hewitt retired the following year, and was succeeded by Dr Tom H. Barry. During Dr Barry's tenure of five years the Hewitt and Rennie Wings were added to the Natural Sciences Museum and the 1820 Settlers Memorial Museum (now called the History Museum) was built.
The period between 1965 and 1977, the directorship of Mr C.F. Jacot Guillarmod, was one of consolidation. The National Collection of Freshwater Organisms was transferred from the CSIR to the Museum. The Early Stone Age site at Amanzi was excavated and re-excavations were done at Wilton and Howison's Poort. Fort Selwyn was restored by the Cape Provincial authority and handed over to the Museum in 1977.
In 1977 Mr Jacot Guillarmod was succeeded by Mr Brian Wilmot and it was at this time that the Museum entered a new period of growth. De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited purchased and restored the Observatory and the Priest's House and donated them to the Museum. The Old Provost military prison was restored by the Cape Province.
The freshwater fish collections of the Transvaal and Cape Nature Conservation authorities, the Natal Museum and the South African Museum were transferred to the Albany Museum (the latter two on loan) making it the largest collection in southern Africa. Museum staff started teaching short courses at the University and, in 1983, the Museum became an Affiliated Research Institute of Rhodes University. The close relationship with the University was expanded with the consolidation of the herbaria of the two institutions and the formation of the Selmar Schonland Herbarium, housed in the Natural Sciences Museum.