cape medical museum


a 1910-era pharmacy at Cape Medical Museum, photo by Adrian Bischoff

The other day I stopped by the Cape Medical Museum (Portswood Rd., Green Point, across from the UCT Business School) after walking by it more times than I can remember. I’m glad I did.

It’s in an old pink former-house in the Old City Hospital Complex. One has to ring the bell to get in–it doesn’t seem like they have a ton of visitors, but the people working there were welcoming once I got in. And it’s free. It houses a collection of medical supplies and information from throughout the Cape’s medical history. There are themed rooms like a vintage pharmacy, a vintage operating theatre and a vintage doctor visitation room. There is also a room about various epidemic diseases and how they affected the Cape. In many ways this is also similar other medical museums, but the Cape Medical Museum sets itself apart is a section on tradition medicines in the Cape, from San and Khoi to Afrikaaner and Xhosa. Pretty interesting stuff.

There is also some very interesting historical information about medicine in the Cape–who the first pharmacist and surgeon were, for instance. There was at least one glaring omission for Cape medical history, though. That said, it was interesting and at the low low price of free (donations accepted), it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than the other medically themed museum in the area.

Cape Medical Museum
Old City Hospital Complex, Portswood Rd., Green Point/ Waterfront
021 418 5663
www.cmmuseum.co.za (currently under construction)

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