Display objects of historical interest in the Port Alfred and Lower Albany areas and to encourage interest in the area’s history and historic sites.
Acquire, borrow or lend items, which can further the objectives of the Kowie Museum by direct grants, or for the loan of specific and/or temporary displays on pre-arranged terms.
Encourage, support and carry out research into the history of the above-mentioned area by making available the Kowie Museum’s records and library to bona fide students of history, to friends of the Kowie Museum, or to any member of the Lower Albany Historical Society (LAHS).
To not take any steps contrary to the Museums’ Ordinance No. 8 of 1975, nor the ethics of museum practice, in the interests or furtherance of the objectives of the Kowie Museum.
To record selected events relevant to the area, which may, in the future, become of historical interest within the Kowie Museum.
The Kowie Museum opened on December 15, 1982, as a result of work by dedicated volunteers.
The Kowie Museum moved to the Old Railway Station, Station Road, Port Alfred in October 2012, after the building in which it was housed for nearly 30 years was sold.
Dedicated volunteers and a curator, overseen by the Board of Trustees, run the Kowie Museum.
Curator of the Kowie Museum, Yvonne Surtees, took up the position on June 1, 2013, after the previous curator, Dick Schuurman, moved to Cape Town.
The Kowie Museum is a full member of the South African Museums Association (SAMA).
The opening hours of the Kowie Museum are 09.30 – 12.30 (closed Sunday/Monday/Public Holidays) for most of the year; extended operating hours apply in the season.
Origins of the Kowie Museum
The creation of a Kowie Museum at Port Alfred was first envisaged by Ted Morse Jones who included this objective as one of the aims of the Lower Albany Historical Society, when it was constituted in July 1958.
From then on members of the Society set out to collect material for a Museum and in the late 1970s, the Society formed the Kowie Museum sub-committee under the chairmanship of Iris Holloway.
In October 1980 the sub-committee set up a limited exhibition for a few days in the foyer of the Town Hall and in March 1981 followed this with a display at the Bathurst Agricultural Show.
In July 1980 Glen Harvey, Chairman of the Society, negotiated with officials of the Posts and Telecommunications Department to make the existing Manual Telephone Exchange room at the Post Office available to the Society when the new Automatic Exchange was built.
This happened in April 1982 and the Kowie Museum moved in and, on December 15, 1982, was able to open its first display.
During the next six months, negotiations between the sub-committee and the Society’s committee led to the drawing up of a constitution for the Kowie Museum, which came into independent existence in July 1983.
It must be mentioned that the Kowie Museum might not have happened were it not for the boundless energy of Don Monro, the first curator.
Sadly, Ted Morse Jones did not see the fruits of his initiative: he died in 1969.
Contact details: +27 (0) 71 288 8228 (a.m. only Tues – Sat) or email curator(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)kowiemuseum.co.za
Visit the Kowie Museum and give us your feedback too!
Board of Trustees
Kowie Museum values your input
This brings history alive!
J & R Perry
An interesting collection for a small town museum
Interesting display and informative guide!
A real asset to Port Alfred
Great history, lovely heritage
Good, varied collection of region
The best small museum in South Africa!
Best in South Africa
What a lovely experience!
J J Jacobs
Joy Billing has vast historical knowledge and supports Yvonne with the Museum collection.
She is currently working on a “Sports” exhibit, but always keeps an eye out for things that we can change and improve.
Rob Crothall – Chair
Chairman, Rob Crothall – a man of considerable vision with a wide knowledge of information technology and modern business methods.
His wise leadership is laying down structures and methods for the future; this, with Rob’s long and tireless work on getting our finances into order in a computerised accounting programme, means that the Museum is making very real steps towards modernisation, and we value his contribution highly.
Erika is new to the Board and comes from a long career in junior school teaching in the Cape, Natal and what was the Transvaal (Gauteng).
From 2004 – 2014 she was Principal of the Kenton-on-Sea Primary School and a Grade 3 teacher.
Her ideas and experience will be of great value in the Museum’s educational outreach.
Lesley Futter – Treasurer
Lesley Futter, Treasurer of the Kowie Museum, was born …
Sue Gordon has a lot of knowledge about public relations and organising functions.
She is an inexhaustible source of ideas that benefit the Museum and manages to fit all the work she does for the Museum into her very busy schedule.
Sue also owns and manages her own museum, the Richmond House Museum in Port Alfred, dedicated to William Cock and his family.
Heather Howard – Secretary
Heather Howard has had the role of Secretary of the Board for some time and has kept Trustees informed of meetings, has distributed the minutes, kept track of everyone’s “things to do”, maintained the master copy of documents like the Constitution, and kept impeccable records.
She gives very sage advice and has been an asset to the committee and chairpersons over the years.
She has served as Chairman for seven years in the 1990s.
Mitch Ramsay is our legal counsel, and he helps us to be clear about what we need in documents such as our Constitution.
He is also very good with people and can be trusted to negotiate well for us.
Yvonne Surtees – Curator
Curator Yvonne Surtees spends many hours at the Museum dealing with new exhibits, members of the public, the desk helpers’ schedules, and being the General Manager.
She combines historical knowledge, good ideas and practicality and is excellent with people.
We are very lucky to have her on the team.
Brian (Bugs) Wilmot – Vice Chair
Brian (Bugs) Wilmot matriculated at Dale College and after military service proceeded to Rhodes University where he obtained a B.Sc. (Honours) degree in Entomology.
In 1972 he joined the staff of the Albany Museum, and five years later succeeded to the directorship of the institution. In 1993 he moved to Cape Town to take up an appointment as Director of Museums for the Cape Province.
In 1995 Brian retired from the Public Service and returned to Grahamstown to launch the National Science Festival (SciFest Africa). After 12 annual festivals attracting 60 000 visitors each year Brian moved to Cradock to be Curator of the Schreiner House Museum. He finally retired to Port Alfred in May 2017.
Brian has presented 35 conference papers and has published more than 30 research publications, including definitive works on professional museum standards and the systematics of dragonflies. Brian twice served as President of the South African Museums Association, is a Past-President of the Grahamstown Rotary Club, and has served in various positions in the Anglican Church.
You can become a friend of the Kowie Museum through your donation or by joining the Kowie Museum as an annual or life member.
Simply complete the online donation and/or membership form, then send it to us and we will invoice you for the required amount.