The George Museum strives to make the community more aware of their heritage and to give them a better understanding of their environment through its exhibitions. The museum endeavors to collect and exhibit assets that portray the cultural heritage of George and surroundings. It traces the history of the town to its origins as a DEIC (Dutch East Indian Company) outpost established in the Southern Cape in c. 1777. It soon became the hub of a flourishing timber industry. The museum’s main exhibition theme of ” Indigenous Woods and Associated Industries of the Southern Cape” focusses on the timber industry of the Southern Cape and the role the industry played in the history of George. [3] The Timber theme is unique in the sense that no other Southern Cape museum has a wood theme as a main theme.

Wood Industry Exhibitions (Outdoor Complex)

The outdoor complex, focussing on the wood industry, consists of plantings of indigenous forest trees, the Timber Museum and a reconstructed yellowwood cottage (c.1910+). This cottage has been furnished according to records of the woodcutters.

From the beginning of colonisation in South Africa, timber and the provision of wood was of paramount importance to the settlers, being used for buildings, furniture, wagons and carts, firewood etc. The Timber Industry Museum focus on the history of the industry and offers an insight into what it was like in the very beginning. On display are an array of woodworking tools that were used for example various axes, grinding stones and the many different kinds of axes that were used.

The Mini Museum

Exhibitions of local historical significance occupy the main building of the museum.

The Mini Museum is a museum within the Museum. It is designed to recreate an atmosphere of bygone times. The display contains many of the original pieces painstakingly collected by Charles Sayers (founder of the museum) for his beloved museum. George was a prosperous market town in Victorian times and in the late 19th century it became the legendary Victoria Hotel. Typical bedroom, dining and drawing room furniture from this period make interesting exhibits. A collection of mechanical musical instruments, ranging from Swiss musical boxes of 1796 to Edison phonographs of the late 19th century and His Master’s Voice gramophones of the 1900s is also on display.

Forced Removals in George

This recently added exhibition focuses on the forced removals that took place in George from 1904 to 1989. During the course of the 19th and 20th centuries various laws were introduced in South Africa to remove black communities from land they occupied. This exhibition portrays the communities in George that were forcefully removed and the places of relocation. As there is little information available regarding this important part of history, visitors are requested to identify people in the photographs and also to identify role players in the resistance against the forced removals, in order for the museum to recognise and acknowledge these people. By involving the community in the exhibition, and by providing a way to express their feelings it is possible to establish a sense of belonging, local pride and value in the community by acknowledging that they have something which is unique and of value. By stimulating dialogue and encouraging visitor participation it was possible to acquire valuable information and broaden the scope of knowledge on the subject.

Temporary Displays

The Sayers Hall is now mostly an Art Gallery. Presently, selective works from the collection of the Western-Cape Library Service, featuring prominent South African artists, as well as a collection of 2010 soccer memorabilia, also by South African artist are on view. It also houses an art collection hosted by SCAVA (Southern Cape Association of Visual Artists)