General news from Kowie Museum

The Kowie Museum recently, on a cold, blustery evening, held their AGM in the elegant setting of the Richmond House Museum.

The weather kept many people indoors, but after some initial concern a quorum was reached and a successful meeting was held, leaving no doubt that the museum is forging ahead and in a very healthy position despite limited finances.

The new committee elected for 2016-2017:

Chairman: Rob Crothall, Secretary: Heather Howard, Treasurer: Gwynn Crothall

Members: Joy Billing, Mike Coleman, Erika Freeme, Sue Gordon, Hennie Marais, Mitch Ramsay and the Curator, Yvonne Surtees, ex Officio.

New members Gwynn and Erika were welcomed to the team. Gwynn has extensive experience in corporate librarianship and Erika has worked in the education field for many years.

The very committed and enthusiastic team is led by Rob, who has a vision for the future and who is backed by experienced, talented and capable people.

Juan Southey has very kindly agreed to audit the museum’s finances pro bono, and the committee is very grateful to him.

New Website

Hennie Marais has been working very hard on a total overhaul of the museum’s website and this has just been launched. It has a fresh, contemporary look in keeping with the committee’s aim to be moving with the times.

At the same time interest in the museum’s Facebook page is growing so please ‘like’ us on Facebook and let your friends and family know.

Sports Display

A new, local sports display is in progress and the first three frames are up thanks to Joy Billing who has added her stylish touch to the panels.

With the Olympics just behind us, we plan, in the last panel, to honour all the sportsmen and women from the Albany/Ndlambe district who have represented their country in any sport through the ages. 

Curator, Yvonne Surtees, made a call to the public to assist the committee in doing so. “We are calling on the public to help us find them,” she said.

Please contact the Curator or Joy Billing if you know of any Springboks or sportsmen with national colours from this area, past or present. The committee’s aim is to not leave anyone out!

This is proving to be a very exciting search and it’s amazing what have already been found.

Contact Yvonne by email on curator(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign) 

Visitors’ Statistics

Despite entry numbers being slightly down on last year visitors from around the country and many from overseas popped in, all of whom have been very complimentary. The dolls’ house, which is on loan until January, has elicited much interest. 

Through actively engaging with Tourism visitors are informed about the museum and are encouraged to discover the history of the town.

Recently a ladies’ group from Kenton-on-Sea paid a visit to the museum and had a talk by the Curator after which they enjoyed the tea they had brought with them, on the platform.  “We would like to encourage such groups to plan similar outings to the station. Visits can be arranged out of normal opening hours,” Surtees said.

Of course, educational outreach is still a priority and will be possible once funding for transportation was found.

Technology Issues

Mike Coleman has been kept busy keeping the technological side of things going. It seems there is always a problem somewhere when equipment is old! Currently, the desk computer has given in and Mike is trying to resuscitate it.

Basil Clark donated an unused laptop to pick up the revolving display of old photos of Port Alfred which was on the now defunct desk computer. These photos always interest visitors. The Crothalls have also very kindly donated a brand new laminator which will be of great assistance in the museum. “We are most grateful,” Surtees said.

Residents who are in the process of replacing their computer equipment are requested to kindly consider donating the old ones to the museum.

Desk Helpers

The museum could not function without the support of the desk helpers. This team is always willing to go the extra mile and help out when needed. Sadly, Theresa Coetser has decided to retire from the museum to make way for other involvements. She has been a loyal helper for 18 years. In her charming, quiet way she has made visitors feel welcome and warmly engaged with them. Her dedication is enormously appreciated.

Linda de Kock and Lesley Futter have volunteered to take over her duties. “We thank them.  We hope they will find it an enjoyable way to make new and interesting discoveries,” Surtees said. 

Surtees who will be visiting the USA and be away for six weeks said, “As Curator I am particularly indebted to the ladies who have held the reins when I have been away and to those who will take over when I travel to the States for six weeks in September to visit my daughter. Thank you all very much!”

A River Runs Through It

Two copies of Dr Mike Erasmus’s book “A River Runs Through It” is still available at the museum. It contains a vast collection of rare, historic photos and information on Port Alfred and surrounds. Dr Erasmus took four years to complete it and only 110 copies were printed. This makes it a true collector’s item and well worth R700 which might at first seem an expensive purchase

Become a Friend of the Museum

The Committee appeals to all residents to join the Museum and, in doing so, support the ongoing preservation of the history of our area.

Membership can be obtained annually at R60 p.a. or Life Membership for a once-off R600.

Paid up annual members are entitled to free entrance to the museum, use of the library and Morse Jones cards for research.

Life members and their spouses have free entry to the museum for life and permanent free access to the library and Morse Jones cards.

The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future – Theodore Roosevelt