Beaufort West Museum Complex

Beaufort West Museum Complex

Local history, including a Dutch Reformed church, the parsonage, the boyhood home of Professor Chris Barnard, and an exhibition on Barnard is documented in the old town hall. The theme of the museum is the history of the Beaufort West Karoo, famous people of the region, and the role of the church. Professor Chris Barnard the famous heart surgeon is honoured in three historic buildings, all national monuments, which make up Beaufort West’s museums. All of which are Western Cape Provincial Heritage Sites, previously national monuments. His exhibition of awards after first heart transplant. All gifts awards and presentations made to Chris Barnard are on display in the old town hall, which was built shortly after Beaufort West was proclaimed South Africa’s first municipality in 1837. It too is now part of the museum.

Three historical buildings (national monuments):

The Pastorie / Parsonage:

Prof. Barnard's boyhood home and visit the garden in which his ashes are buried.

The Old Town Hall:

The oldest Town Hall in the country. It houses the most popular exhibits of the first heart transplant operation, with much of the equipment used on that historic occasion, his awards, honorary degrees, diplomas and gifts received from around the world. It was the first city hall to be built in the Karoo and sports a beautiful fagade decorated with molded plaster.

The Old Mission Church:

The mission church building houses a depiction of the town's history. This was the church in which Chris Barnard's father preached and his mother played the organ. Important firearms from the early days of South African history are on display here. Today the church contains exhibits portraying the role various religious denominations played in the history of Beaufort West, as well as collections of firearms and leather apparel.

Hours: The Beaufort West Museum is open from Monday to Friday 8h30 - 12h45 and 13h45 - 16h45. Saturday: 9h00 - 12h00.

Location and Contact

Visiting Address: 27 Beaufort west museums, 89 Donkin Street, Beaufort West, 6970, Central Karoo
Postal Address: PO Box 370, Beaufort-West, 6970
Tel: 023 415 2308
Fax: 023 415 2545
Email: or
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS), Western Cape Provincial Government
Museum Service, Protea Assurance House, Greenmarket Square, Cape Town
Private Bag X9067, Cape Town 8000
Tel: 021-483 9700
Fax: 021-483 9845
Inquiries: 0860 142142
Contact Persons
Beverley Thomas
Assistant Director: Museum Scientific Service
Tel: (021) 505 1534
Sandra Smit
Manager: Beaufort West Museum
Tel: (023) 415 2308