The 10 Best Museums in Johannesburg

Johannesburg, affectionately known as Jozi, is a vibrant city with a rich cultural tapestry that tells the story of its tumultuous past and dynamic present. Among its many attractions, the museums stand out as custodians of history, art, and heritage. They’re not just places to visit; they’re experiences to immerse yourself in, offering a deeper understanding of South Africa’s City of Gold.

One museum that always strikes a chord with me is the Apartheid Museum. It’s a powerful and evocative space that confronts the stark realities of South Africa’s era of segregation and oppression. Walking through its exhibits, you can’t help but feel a profound connection to the stories and struggles that shaped this nation.

1. Apartheid Museum

Let’s dive right in with the Apartheid Museum. It’s a must-visit for anyone keen to understand South Africa’s history. The museum’s poignant displays and multimedia exhibits take you on an emotional journey through the dark days of apartheid, highlighting the resilience and courage of the South African people. It’s a place that will move you, educate you, and leave you with a lasting impression.

2. Constitution Hill

Next up is Constitution Hill. This former prison complex turned museum is a testament to South Africa’s journey to democracy. It’s where you’ll find the Constitutional Court, which endorses the rights of all citizens. The exhibitions here tell the stories of former inmates, including Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, and their fight for freedom.

3. Wits Art Museum

For art enthusiasts, the Wits Art Museum in the heart of Braamfontein is a treasure trove of African art. Its collection boasts an impressive array of traditional and contemporary works, showcasing the continent’s rich artistic diversity. The museum’s vibrant exhibitions are a feast for the eyes and the soul.

Speaking of art, the Johannesburg Art Gallery is another cultural gem. Housed in an elegant building, it features an extensive collection of South African and international works. From paintings to sculptures, the gallery offers a visual journey through various art movements and periods.

5. Origins Centre

Ever wondered about the origins of humankind? The Origins Centre at Wits University provides fascinating insights. Its interactive exhibits delve into our ancestral history, with a focus on the rich heritage of the San people. It’s a place where science and culture converge, offering a unique perspective on our beginnings.

6. James Hall Museum of Transport

For something a bit different, the James Hall Museum of Transport is a delightful detour. It’s the largest transport museum in Africa, displaying everything from horse-drawn carriages to electric cars. It’s a nostalgic journey through the evolution of transport in Johannesburg.

7. Lindfield Victorian House Museum

Step back in time at the Lindfield Victorian House Museum. This well-preserved residence is a window into the Victorian era, with each room meticulously arranged as it would have been in the 19th century. It’s like walking onto the set of a period drama, complete with a guide dressed in Victorian attire.

8. Hector Pieterson Museum

The Hector Pieterson Museum is another poignant stop. Located in Soweto, it commemorates the 1976 Soweto Uprising and the tragic death of Hector Pieterson, a young boy killed by Police. The museum’s powerful exhibits and photographs capture the spirit of resistance and the fight for equality.

9. Sci-Bono Discovery Centre

For families and curious minds, the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre is a wonderland of science and technology. Its hands-on exhibits make learning fun and accessible, covering topics from physics to biology. It’s a place where you can play, experiment, and discover the wonders of our world.

10. Museum of African Design (MOAD)

Last but not least, the Museum of African Design, or MOAD, is a contemporary space dedicated to African creativity. It’s an incubator for new ideas and a showcase for cutting-edge design. The museum’s exhibitions are always fresh and thought-provoking, highlighting the continent’s dynamic design scene.


  • What are the opening hours for the Apartheid Museum?

    The Apartheid Museum is open from 9 am to 5 pm, Tuesday to Sunday. It’s a good idea to allocate at least a couple of hours for your visit to fully absorb the exhibits.

  • Can you recommend a family-friendly museum in Johannesburg?

    Absolutely! The Sci-Bono Discovery Centre is perfect for families. It’s interactive and educational, making it a hit with kids and adults alike.

  • Is there an entrance fee for the museums?

    Most museums in Johannesburg charge an entrance fee, but it’s usually quite reasonable. Some museums also offer free entry on certain days or discounts for students and pensioners.


In conclusion, Johannesburg’s museums are not just buildings filled with artifacts; they’re vibrant spaces that tell the stories of South Africa’s past and present. From the harrowing history at the Apartheid Museum to the artistic wonders at the Wits Art Museum, there’s a wealth of knowledge and inspiration to be found. Each museum offers a unique experience that reflects the city’s diverse heritage and creative spirit. So, whether you’re a history buff, art lover, or simply curious about the world, Jozi’s museums are sure to leave a lasting impact. Don’t just take my word for it; go see for yourself and be prepared to be moved, educated, and inspired.

Kurby Team

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