The museum will re-open to the members of the general public on 1 October 2020. Opening hours will be between 09:00 to 14:00 on weekdays and will be closed on weekends and public holidays. Our staff members started preparing for visitors on 25 September 2020 after approval for the re-opening was granted by the National Department of Sports, Arts and Culture. The museum will be operated under strict level 2 lockdown rules and regulations. For example, visitors without masks will be denied entry to the premises. Visitors’ temperature will be tested and those who have 38°C or more will not be allowed entry. The caravel will be closed until further notice. The aquarium touch tank at the Shell Museum will operate like other tanks, visitors will not be allowed to touch the animals. Only 50 visitors per building will be allowed at a time.
About The Dias Museum
THE SHELL MUSEUM
This structure was erected in 1902 next to the Post Office Tree as an extension to the old mill and was mainly used as a store. In later years Mr. Joe Shirley used the building for his plumbing business, after which it became known as the "Shirley Building". The building was also used as a furniture factory and garage for motor repairs. A concrete platform laid on rough stone boulders was excavated during renovations of the building.
THE MARITIME MUSEUM
The building as originally erected in 1901 to serve as a grain and sawmill. It has now been adapted to serve as a unique Maritime Museum. A life-sized replica of Bartolomeu Dias’s caravel is on display together with all aspects of the maritime history of the early Portuguese, Dutch and English navigators.
Bartolomeu Dias – the master mariner after which the Mossel Bay Museum Complex is named, was the first explorer to set foot on South African soil here in Mossel Bay on 3 February 1488. He named Mossel Bay “The Watering Place of Saint Blaize” after arriving here on the holy day of the patron Saint Blaize and collecting fresh water from the fountain which today still flows.
- The Granary was built in 1786 by the Dutch East India Company. This led to the opening up and expansion of the grain and wool trades. In 1949/50 a large warehouse was erected on the site by the “Suid Westelike Landbou Bpk.” And the 1787 granary was demolished. With the demolition of the warehouse in 1986 the original foundations of the granary were discovered and a replica of the 1786 building was then erected on them.
- It is now used as a the main entrance for the museum complex and educational centre.
- A live speciman table with examples of plants and flowers found in the Mossel Bay area on display in the granary.