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Today we highlight Chiara Singh, an archaeology intern at the KZN Museum’s Human Sciences department. Chiara is part of the 30 interns employed at the museum under the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme (PESP). The program has been running for the past two months and has seen a host of talented young individuals such as Chiara, take part in the program.
Chiara Singh recently graduated from the University of Pretoria and holds a Masters Degree specializing in archaeology. Chiara is passionate about heritage management and conservation. She says being at the museum has been a thrill and has enjoyed working with and learning from, colleagues who possess a wealth of knowledge and experience.
Over the past two months, Chiara has been hard at work examining and cataloguing decade’s old film to be converted onto digital platforms. Currently, Chiara is assisting Dr. Justine Wintjes (KZN Museum) on the Five Hundred Year Archive (FHYA) project developed by Carolyn Hamilton (University of Cape Town). Dr. Wintjes and Chiara have to digitize the earliest 100 artefacts recorded, that relate to KwaZulu-Natal and its surrounding region. Once digitized the artefacts will be sent to and form part of its database for future generations to use and enjoy.
Pretty exciting stuff! We wish Chiara all the best.
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I love my job because I am a people’s person and I love being challenged,

being at the front desk gives me the opportunity to interact with different people on daily basis

and this teaches me important skills of dealing with different people from different backgrounds.

This, for me, is part of a never ending journey of discovery.

Msizi 2

Msizi Maphanga

My journey at the KZN Museum started in 2014 when I took on a 6 month internship. I registered for a National Diploma in Eco-Tourism Management at the Durban University of Technology and work integrated learning was required to complete the course.

After 4 months of in-service training, I got the opportunity to work for the museum on contract as a weekend Gallery Guide and the contract was renewed until 31 December 2016. I then got a full-time contract to work as a Contract Information Officer/Gallery Guide from 1 January 2017 until 31 August 2017. During all these contracts I was working under the Department of Education of the Museum. From 1 October 2017 until 30 June 2019 I took on the role of Contract Receptionist, the post became a permanent from 1 July 2019 until now under the KZM Museum’s Marketing team.

My duties include receiving the visitors to the museum and all administrative tasks relating to this. I also keep a detailed record of all visitor statistics and compile these reports on a quarterly basis. I am also responsible for the museum shop and I also assist with security related matters.

The Museum’s marketing department aims at maximising the number of visitor coming through the doors of the KZN Museum, as well as enhancing the image and building the brand of the KwaZulu-Natal Museum. I am currently studying towards a National Diploma in Marketing Management at UNISA.


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Fieldwork in the Groot Winterhoek Mountains, Eastern Cape Province



















Dr Ghilraen Laue of the Human Sciences Department at the KZN Museum recently conducted a two-week field trip to the Groot Winterhoek mountains and surrounding areas in the southern Cape where she is working, expanding on her PhD research. A total of 17 rock art sites were recorded, 16 of which were previously undocumented. Sites were photographed and sketched and selected images from four sites were traced. Some of the sites were small, little more than an overhang with fewer than twenty images while other larger sites had images numbering over a hundred.

The rugged and steep terrain, oftentimes with no paths, makes walking hard but any difficulties encountered are eclipsed by the excitement of seeing a new site. Some of the more inaccessible sites require overnight stays in the shelters, which has the added benefit of allowing the art to be viewed in varying light conditions.


Among the many exciting discoveries made, were therianthropic (part-human/part- animal figures) images, that were modelled on swifts (Apus sp.). The furthermost eastern extent of these images was documented by Jeremy Hollmann, formerly of the KZN Museum, as being close to the town of Joubertina. Laue’s work extends this limit over 150 km eastwards. The image on the right has been enhanced using Decorrelation Stretch, a software algorithm, developed by NASA to separate bands of the spectrum to highlight and/or supress certain bands, allowing for clarity of form to be seen in rock art.


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The Exhibitions department regularly measures temperatures, light and relative humidity in the galleries to provide a representation of the environmental conditions. Pietermaritzburg has a warm temperature climate and average temperatures for the safety of artefacts and for the comfort of staff and visitors should range from 18'c-24'c, with a relative humidity of 45%-65%.  

Pictured is Museum Exhibitions Officer, Heather Pattenden measuring the conditions in the Marine Gallery.
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Opening Times

Monday to Friday - 9:00 to 15:30 
Saturdays - Closed 
Sundays - Closed


Adults (over 17 years) : R10.00

Children (4-17 years) : R 2.50 

School Learners on tour : R 1.50 per child

Pensioners & toddlers : FREE