CP Nel Museum

CP Nel Museum

The cultural museum exhibits articles relating to local history, including the private collection of Colonel CP Nel. Located in the former Oudtshoorn Boys' High School, designed by Charles Bullock. CP Nel Museum is an ostrich museum on 3 Baron van Rheede Street in the town of Oudtshoorn in South Africa. Located in a handsome sandstone building opposite the Tourist Information Bureau, this old-fashioned museum has many exhibits relating to Oudtshoorn's boom period, as well as photographs of some of the ostrich palaces that never made it past the 1950s. The building, formerly the Boys High School of Oudtshoorn, was designed in 1906 by a local architect Charles Bullock. Its green domed sandstone facade is considered one of the finest examples of stone masonry anywhere in South Africa.


CP Nel Museum Including:

  • Ostrich Hall
  • Street Scene
  • Military Weapon Room
  • General Sales Store; a typical 1911 sales store
  • Synagogue
  • N.A. Smit Room; symbolises Mr Smit's interest in collecting shells, corals, etc.
  • Music Room with historic musical instruments
  • Bedroom with beautiful furniture
  • Dining room belonged to Gert Olivier, one of the old "Ostrich Barons"
  • Transport - Oxwagon that used as a provision wagon between Oudtshoorn and Mossel Bay in 1839. Another unique vehicle, the Schacht, a Dutch model from the year 1909
  • Natural History - animals found in the Klein Karoo
  • Oudtshoorn Boy's High School Hall

This beautiful sand stone building was opened in 1907 as the Boys High School. The building reflects a late Victorian Colonial style of a classical building. It was designed by Charles Bullock and erected in 1906. The School Hall, designed in the New Republican style, was erected in 1912. The building as a whole dates back to the second "ostrich feather boom" (1900 - 1914) and was declared a National Monument in 1981. The tower is 30 meters high and is decorated with Corinthian ornaments. The oxtangoual "koepel" (dome) is rounded off with a wrought iron crown while on both sides of the central clock tower the facade is symmetrically designed. Both sides end with verandas bolstered by sandstone pillars in the Tuscany building style.
mermaid model hangs in the tower of the CP Nel Museum in Oudtshoorn
The museum traces the history of Oudtshoorn, including how the ostrich-farming community sprouted here in response to turn of the century fashions. One of the most meticulous displays is a replica of how a pharmacy would have looked 100 years ago. A unique feature of the museum is the reconstruction of the St John Street Synagogue (1896). A large jewish community, primarily from Lithuania, immigrated to Oudtshoorn (1881 - 1890) and played a large role in the world wide marketing of ostrich feathers. Exhibits include transport, bedrooms, dining rooms, music rooms, a Synagogue, the school hall, ostrich hall and more. The purpose today includes the cultural history of the Klein Karoo region. The C.P.Nel Museum is also the only museum with a Synagogue inside - still in use.

Visiting hours are as follow:
Mondays - Fridays: 08:00 -17:00, Saturdays, Sundays & Public Holidays: 09:00 - 17:00

Location and Contact - CP Nel Museum

VISITING ADDRESS: 3 Baron van Reede Street, Oudtshoorn, Western Cape, South Africa 6620
POSTAL ADDRESS: PO Box 453, Oudtshoorn, 6620
TEL: 044 272 7306
FAX: 044 272 7853
EMAIL: cpnm...@pixie.co.za or cpne...@mweb.co.za (Contact person: Mrs Sandra Smit)
CP Nel Museum On the web: http://www.cpnelmuseum.co.za/
Feather duster sellers with their colourful ware in front of the CP Nel Museum


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