The Fransie Pienaar Museum

Prince Albert Fransie Pienaar Museum

Cultural history exhibits illuminate aspects of 19th-century mining and the traditional distilling of witblits [white lightning] alcohol, which is still made today.


Prince Albert is known for its sun-ripened fresh and dried fruit, especially figs and apricots. In the Prince Albert Valley, to the south of the village, farmers have restored vineyards last farmed in the 19th century. Karoo lamb, olives, olive oil and cheese are local delicacies. Activities for visitors include a guided historical walk through the town, a ramble along the "Gordon's koppie", a ghost walk in the evening, star tours, trips into the Swartberg Pass, a visit to the Prince Albert Gallery, where numerous South African artists display their work, local shops, the weavery, traditional Karoo meals, and a visit to the delightful Fransie Pienaar Museum where a local farmer distills "Witblits".

Situated in a fertile valley at the foot of the imposing Swartberg Mountains, Prince Albert is a charming, peaceful Karoo town of colourful houses, broekie-laced verandas, flourishing gardens and beautifully preserved Cape Dutch and Victorian buildings. Go on a guided historical walk through the town and look out for its nineteen national monuments, or visit the Fransie Pienaar Museum to get a sense of Prince Albert's interesting past.

The cultural history museum in Prince Albert depicts the history of the town and its environment. The Fransie Pienaar Museum hosts cultural exhibits from the past of the village. Items range from music instruments to guns and Prince Albert's own 1890's Gold Rush. Fransie Pienaar collected most of the contents of the museum. This collection of historical items is still growing today, due to further donations from past and present inhabitants of Prince Albert.

The Prince Albert Cultural Foundation offers an outing on the third Saturday of most months. The topic might be of cultural, historical, pre-historical, geological, musical, culinary, or botanical interest.

About Fransie Pienaar

Fransie Pienaar was born in 1897 in Prince Albert and left after school to study music at Sullivan College in Cape Town. After marrying and returning to her home district, she started collecting antiques to the extent that she soon needed to dedicate an entire room in her home to her collectables!

This collection then grew to fill a hall donated by the Dutch Reformed Church and then to a house loaned to Fransie by the Prince Albert Council. This house was built in 1906 and also served as a hospital from 1952 to 1978. The collection of museum items is still growing today as Prince Albert inhabitants continue to donate to this worthy cause.

The Museum has a wide variety of displays including

  • Information about Queen Victoria's consort, Prince Albert and a book of his speeches presented to the village by Her Majesty.
  • A fascinating fossil exhibition based upon Roy Oosthuizen's collection
  • An extensive collection of Musical Instruments, Glass, Porcelain, Earthenware and Paintings.
  • A delightful Bedroom filled with old fashioned furnishings and a Nursery corner
  • A Gunroom with some fascinating weapons
  • Details of Watermill History
  • A Medical Section depicting doctors and the hospital's history
  • Displays about the construction of the Swartberg Pass, the history of Gamkaskloof and Meiringspoort and our 1890's Gold Rush
  • We have some lovely Victorian clothing, needlework items and a kitchen display to delight young and old alike.
  • Local artists, including Gawie Beukes and Outa Lappies are well represented.
  • Intricately carved woodwork by Piet Basson, local benefactor.
  • Library / archive includes local diaries and valuable historical records about the Central Karoo and the Swartberg.
  • In the grounds have a horse-drawn hearse, a wagon and several carts, various pieces of farm equipment, a winepress and beautiful gardens.
  • There is a Witblits (i.e. Moonshine) distillery at the museum.
  • A painting (dated 1778) of Prince Albert by Robert Gordon can be seen ion the museum.
  • The shop stocks a wide selection of books about the village and the district, olive products.

Fransie Pienaar Museum Hours:
Monday - Friday: 09.30- 12.30 & 14.00 - 16.30, Saturday: 09.30 - 12.00, Sunday: 10.30 - 12.00, Closed: Public Holidays. After hours please phone lone 023 5411 777 or Jonathan 023 5411 100.

Location and Contact:
The Fransie Pienaar Museum

Visiting Address: 42 Church Street, Next to the Tourism Bureau, Prince Albert 6930, Klein Karoo (Central Karoo), Prince Albert Local Municipality, Cape Town, Western Cape
Postal Address: PO Box 109, Prince Albert, 6930
Contact person: Ms Ione Auerswald
Tel / fax: +27 (0)23 5411 172
Fax: 023 541 1366
E-mail: prin...@intekom.co.za or fran...@lantic.net
The Fransie Pienaar Museum On The Web: http://www.patourism.co.za/museum.htm
Fransie Pienaar Museum photograph


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