The Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex was officially opened on 3 February 1989, however, the Mossel Bay museum industry can be traced back to the 1960s when the Mossel Bay museum was first opened. The museum later became known as the Post Tree museum complex before being renamed again in 1989.
The Dias Museum Complex is situated near the beach, shops, restaurants, banks and the tourist information center. Inside the Maritime Museum is a shop where postcards, stamps, books, souvenirs and small gifts can be bought. On the grounds of the Dias Museum Complex are mountain tortoises, ducks and museum cats. In the Granary there are conference facilities available for 48 people or if used in cinema style, seating for up to 100 people. Catering can be arranged. Mail from the shoe is collected twice a day (once a day out of season) by the Post Office. Whales can be observed from the museum grounds from June to November.
The Fire-safety and Disability Access Upgrading Project at the Dias Museum, one of Mossel Bay’s iconic gems, has been completed.
Finishing touches are still being done. All three main buildings of the Dias Museum Complex (the Maritime Museum, Granary as well as the Shell Museum & Aquarium) are thus open for visitors during the week. Currently, the Granary is closed on weekends.
Since the contractors are still busy with finishing touches, and because we are still busy with installing of various exhibits, entrance to the museum is free. From 1 December 2023, an entrance fee will be charged. Donations (large or small!) to the Friends of the Museum are always welcome.
However, safe parking at this stage is still R3.00 per hour.
Visitors are not allowed to go onto the Caravel (boat) due to conservation reasons. They might most possibly not be allowed onto the boat for the next few months or longer.
Visitors could still experience the characterful architecture of 1900 as well as the modernised elements by the brilliant Fagan architects in the Maritime museum. The magnificent blue Adamastor tiles, the subtle maritime architectural features and the three exquisite stained glass windows/pieces of art, lovingly created by Mrs Ria Kriek contribute to a remarkable ambience in this building.
The museum shop is in the Maritime Museum. Visitors can get a special Post Office Tree frank for free in the shop!
Some of the other experiences that visitors can look forward to enjoying are the world-famous Post Office Tree, the Ethno-Botanical garden, the indigenous field garden, and Milkwood forest, as well as all the birds and butterflies living there, the world-famous spring, several large artefacts such as large antique anchors and canons on the museum terrain, the Malay graves, the outside of the Munro cottages and the Padrao (Portuguese cross).
The Shell Museum and Aquarium houses the largest exhibit about molluscs in Africa! There are some live molluscs and other small aquatic animals (such as an octopus, apple snails, fish, lobsters and soft corals) on exhibit in aquariums in this building. Staff are busy with upgrading some of the aquariums.
Entrance to the museum complex from Mondays to Fridays is through the Granary. Newly renovated ablution facilities (including a modern, wheelchair-friendly room) are available. There are a few attractive temporary displays, including the very popular specimen table with fresh, indigenous local examples of plants with educational information.
Visitors are invited to bring along their picnic baskets and have a meal or non-alcoholic drinks on the benches or on their own blankets in the museum garden. Santos Beach is also accessible from the museum terrain.
Thank you to the visitors for their understanding, patience, constructive criticism, positive attitude and flexibility. The best is still to come and we can all look forward to an exciting new experience to celebrate our heritage.
On Thursday 26 October 2023, Marine Month will be celebrated in the Maritime Museum. 18:00 for 18:30. Natural scientist and brilliant photographer, Rian Jones will do a presentation about “Life on an offshore Island”. RSVP to 044-6911067 before 24 October 2023 if you would like to attend.
For enquiries call 044 6911 067 or send a mail to email@example.com
The Granary displays a live specimen table with examples of plants and flowers found in the Mossel Bay area.
The Shell Museum was erected in 1902 next to the Post Office Tree as an extension to the old mill and was mainly used as a store. In later years Mr Joe Shirley used the building for his plumbing business, after which it became known as the “Shirley Building”.
The Maritime Museum was originally erected in 1901 to serve as a grain and sawmill. It has now been adapted to serve as a unique Maritime Museum. A life-sized replica of Bartolomeu Dias’s caravel is on display together with all aspects of the maritime history of the early Portuguese, Dutch and English navigators.
Adults: R 20.00
Pensioners: R 10.00
Children under 18: R 5.00
Complex & Caravel
Adults: R 40.00
Pensioners: R 20.00
Children under 18: R 10.00
The committee of the Friends of the Dias Museum was elected in 2019 after a very special AGM which was attended by a record number of friends.
The committee plan on putting the fun back into the museum and they invite the public to become involved and to join the Friends at only R10 per annum.
Denise Lloyd (Chairman & Representative on the Management Committee); Cobus van Rensburg (Vice); Marlè Munro (Secretary); Hans Bosch (Constitution); David Clayphan (Fundraising); Jan Maritz (Marketing); Brigitte von Schutz (Museum Representative/Scribe); Mbulelo Mrubata (Museum Manager); Hein Bottom (Finance)