Pretoria - As part of Heritage Month celebrations, the Pretoria News in collaboration with the University of Pretoria (UP) Museums, treated art and history lovers to a guided tour at the institution’s museum yesterday.
Couple, John and Denise Gwilliam, couldn’t hide their excitement as they took a stroll through one of the institution's oldest buildings, the Old Arts Building.
Tour guide Steven Motena told the couple the UP museum’s role was “the collection of art and history”. He said it never used to be like this, even though the collecting of art started for the institution in 1922.
“The first artwork was donated in that year. Last year we were celebrating 100 years of collecting these pieces,” he said
Motena added that there had not been any museum or art gallery around 1922 and it only started to be developed around the year 2000.
“We have a variety of collections, some that represent Africa, some from Europe, some from archaeology, some from history and some from contemporary collections. It’s all about the art and the history it represents,” he said.
He said the the museum’s other role was research: “It’s the university museum and so the main thing about it is the research. How it has several disciplines to be used for research,” he said.
Asked what differentiated the museums from others, Motena said the UP museums were unique.
“UP has several things that other museums don’t have. We are the first university museum to join Google Arts and Culture, the first university museum to digitise the artworks so they can be accessed all over the world.
“Another thing is that we have a collection of Mapungubwe that was researched by researchers from UP.”
The Gwilliam couple, who have been living in Pretoria for about 45 years, said they were lovers of art and history.
“I’m very interested in history, especially the Anglo-Boer War, but I also enjoy these paintings. I think they are beautiful and the ceramics are marvellous,” said Denise, a first time visitor. “We’re grateful to the Pretoria News for bringing us here.” John said even though he had visited the university many times before, this time it was for the museum.