Welcome to the Kowie Museum

The Historic Hub of Port Alfred

Morse Jones

The father of the Kowie Museum

Home of many cultures

1820 British Settlers, ama-Xhosa and more


Objectives of the Kowie Museum

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.

About Us

Kowie Museum20
The Kowie Museum is situated in the old Port Alfred Railway Station

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, Marilyn Pattenden, took over from Yvonne Surtees in 2019.

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 from Thursday to Saturday (closed on 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) 82 784 7212  (a.m. only Thursday – Saturday) or email curator(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)kowiemuseum.co.za

Privacy Policy

Who we are

Our website address is: https://www.kowiemuseum.co.za.

What personal data we collect and why we collect it


When visitors leave comments on the site we collect the data shown in the comments form, and also the visitor’s IP address and browser user agent string to help spam detection.

An anonymised string created from your email address (also called a hash) may be provided to the Gravatar service to see if you are using it. The Gravatar service privacy policy is available here: https://automattic.com/privacy/. After approval of your comment, your profile picture is visible to the public in the context of your comment.


If you upload images to the website, you should avoid uploading images with embedded location data (EXIF GPS) included. Visitors to the website can download and extract any location data from images on the website.

Contact forms


If you leave a comment on our site you may opt-in to saving your name, email address and website in cookies. These are for your convenience so that you do not have to fill in your details again when you leave another comment. These cookies will last for one year.

If you have an account and you log in to this site, we will set a temporary cookie to determine if your browser accepts cookies. This cookie contains no personal data and is discarded when you close your browser.

When you log in, we will also set up several cookies to save your login information and your screen display choices. Login cookies last for two days, and screen options cookies last for a year. If you select “Remember Me”, your login will persist for two weeks. If you log out of your account, the login cookies will be removed.

If you edit or publish an article, an additional cookie will be saved in your browser. This cookie includes no personal data and simply indicates the post ID of the article you just edited. It expires after 1 day.

Embedded content from other websites

Articles on this site may include embedded content (e.g. videos, images, articles, etc.). Embedded content from other websites behaves in the exact same way as if the visitor has visited the other website.

These websites may collect data about you, use cookies, embed additional third-party tracking, and monitor your interaction with that embedded content, including tracking your interaction with the embedded content if you have an account and are logged in to that website.


Who we share your data with

How long we retain your data

If you leave a comment, the comment and its metadata are retained indefinitely. This is so we can recognise and approve any follow-up comments automatically instead of holding them in a moderation queue.

For users that register on our website (if any), we also store the personal information they provide in their user profile. All users can see, edit, or delete their personal information at any time (except they cannot change their username). Website administrators can also see and edit that information.

What rights you have over your data

If you have an account on this site, or have left comments, you can request to receive an exported file of the personal data we hold about you, including any data you have provided to us. You can also request that we erase any personal data we hold about you. This does not include any data we are obliged to keep for administrative, legal, or security purposes.

Where we send your data

Visitor comments may be checked through an automated spam detection service.

Your contact information

If you register on our site, the information you provide is stored on a database.  Some of that information is encrypted to avoid data breaches.

Additional information

How we protect your data

Your password is encrypted and behind a firewall.

What data breach procedures we have in place

In the event of a data breach, we will restore the site from backup, if necessary, and advise all registered members of the breach.  We will also analyse the breach, in consultation with consultants, and put measures in place to mitigate the risk of a repeated breach.

What third parties we receive data from

WordPress sites receive updates from WordPress and plug-in suppliers from time to time to ensure that detected issues are mitigated and new functionality is provided.

What automated decision making and/or profiling we do with user data


Industry regulatory disclosure requirements

No additional requirements are addressed.


Visit the Kowie Museum and give us your feedback too!

Board of Trustees

Port Alfred

Kowie Museum values your input

This brings history alive!

J & R Perry


History alive

An interesting collection for a small town museum 

J Mather

Doncaster, England

Interesting collection

Interesting display and informative guide!

Y Mason



A real asset to Port Alfred

G Eagle

Cape Town

Real asset

Great history, lovely heritage

A Mda


Lovely heritage

Good, varied collection of region

S Dingemans

Dublin, Ireland

Varied collection

The best small museum in South Africa!

L Howard


Best in South Africa

What a lovely experience!

Heather Turnbull


Lovely experience

Baie leersaam!

J J Jacobs



Joy Billing
Rob Crothall
Erika Freeme
Lesley Futter – Treasurer
Heather Howard – Secretary
Mitch Ramsay
Yvonne Surtees – Curator
Brian (Bugs) Wilmot – Chairman
Joy Billing

Joy Billing

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

Rob Crothall

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 work on getting our finances into a computerised accounting programme and helping with IT, means that the Museum is making very real steps towards modernisation, and we value his contribution highly.

Erika Freeme

Erika Freeme

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

Lesley Futter, Treasurer of the Kowie Museum, was born …

Heather Howard – Secretary

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

Mitch Ramsay

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

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 – Chairman

Brian (Bugs) Wilmot – Chairman

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.

Join Us

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.

Click here for the Join/Donate Form.

During completion, you will be asked whether you want to join as an Annual Member, Life Member or whether you are making a Donation.

Donors/Members can rest assured that all funds are spent on running the Kowie Museum under the guidance of a Board of Trustees, who are all volunteers.

Other methods of donating:
Donation/membership cheques can be mailed to:
Kowie Museum, PO Box 291, Port Alfred, 6170 (Payee on cheque: Kowie History Museum)

Remember us in your Will – Click here for more information

Direct donation/membership deposits can be made at:

FNB – Port Alfred, Branch code: 210917, Account number: 625 1354 4454, Type of Account: Business Essential Account, Account holder: Kowie History Museum, and Swift code: FIRNZAJJ

We reluctantly included our bank details, because we prefer a one on one contact where we can thank our donors personally.

If you choose to deposit/EFT money, please use your telephone number or email address as a unique reference so that we are able to acknowledge receipt and thank you for your kindness.

Often we have numerous untraceable deposits and it saddens us that we are not able to thank the donor personally.

For more information contact Yvonne Surtees on curator(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)kowiemuseum.co.za


Contact Us

Address:  Old Station Building, Station Road, Port Alfred, off Pascoe Crescent.  We are across the road from the Port Alfred Police Station.

Email:   curator(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)kowiemuseum.co.za

Comments and Questions are welcomed