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It’s holiday! Time for fun and entertainment in the sun! Budgets are tight and many families are looking for cost effective ways to keep their children entertained and occupied. Celebrate summer with the Iziko Museums of Cape Town. Come and see – this is the place to be! En dis nogal for free!

It’s that time of the year again, when Iziko Museums launches its annual Celebrate Summer “Dive into our Heritage” campaign, offering a ‘cool’ alternative to the summer heat, at our 12 national museums. This initiative aims to facilitate cultural engagement and to provide a platform for some of our nation’s most relevant issues. There are many new exhibitions of offer as well as workshops to keep the children occupied, Planetarium shows and in February, our annual Summer School.

Coupons will be made available in select publications, entitling free entry to our museums (excluding the Castle of Good Hope and Iziko Planetarium). Each coupon welcomes two adults for free, while children 16 years and under enter for free throughout the year – making this summer season the ideal opportunity for you and your family to truly dive into our heritage!

Must-see exhibitions on display at the Iziko South African Museum include African Dinosaurs, showcasing dinosaurs and their reptilian relatives that lived in Africa millions of years ago. The very popular Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010 exhibition, brought to South Africa by NHU Africa, showcases the very best photography featuring natural subjects. Virtual Earth opens at the Iziko South African Museum in mid-December, and takes the form of a Gaiasphere, an interactive digital theatre housed in a 3.2m diameter back-projected hemisphere, where animations of changes happening on the earth’s surface can be shown. This a first for Iziko and the continent!

While the Iziko Social History department’s most recent exhibition, entitled Made in Translation – Images from and of the Landscape, showcases a diverse range of rock art translations, including the works of copyists from the mid-19th to early 20th centuries.  The exhibition includes an 11m-long painting that has been painstakingly restored by Iziko curatorial staff.

The Iziko SA National Gallery celebrates summer with five brand new exhibitions. These include Borders – an exhibition from the Bamako Encounters 8th African Photographic Biennale; A Vigil of Departure, a retrospective of Louis Maqhubela; Roger Ballen and Boarding House; Imagining Beauty – Body Adornment including Young SA Designers and In Context, an exhibition of international and South African contemporary artists.

Currently on display at the Iziko Bo-Kaap Museum, Mapping Bo-Kaap: History, Memories and Spaces, inspired by a mapping survey project conducted by vidamemoria heritage consultants, set out to establish a sense, from the residents themselves, of the nature and location of important sites in the area. New Year Carnival and the Alibama exhibition, also on display here, signifies the neighbourhood’s important role in terms of the history and geography of the carnival. Cape Town carnival is an urban phenomenon with marching routes which historically linked the two largest inner-city residential areas; namely the Bo-Kaap and District Six.

Still on at the Castle of Good Hope (not included in the free access campaign) is the groundbreaking exhibition of the Kaapse Klopse, Ghoema and Glitter. This multimedia exhibition is hosted in the Good Hope Gallery and showcases the history, traditions and artifacts of the Cape Town new year tradition of carnival.

The recently re-opened Iziko Bertram House hosts an exhibition of the newly launched South African Post Office’s 8th Definitive Series of stamps on beadwork.
At the Old Town House, Iziko Michaelis Collection, Home and Away: A Return to the South examines the similarities and differences between works produced by SA artists from beyond our shores who created works in support of the struggle.

Iziko’s Education and Public Programmes department will host edutainment for children, leading up to the festive season, including decoupage, beading and mosaic workshops, as well as a Gr. 12 Create exhibition, on display between January and February 2011, at the Iziko SA National Gallery. For more information, please contact Lungi Mvimbi on 021 481 3823 or e-mail [email protected]

Iziko Planetarium (not included in the free access campaign) hosts their festive programme of shows which highlights the adventures in outer space of Silly Solly, Davy Dragon and Dino the Dinosaur.  For more serious astronomy fans there is The Sky Tonight and Table Mountain.

Celebrate Summer concludes in February 2011, with Iziko’s Education and Public Programmes’ annual Summer School. This year’s theme – Be Inspired, Connected and Engaged – will drive the second conference of Our Nation in Conversation, an excursion to Sutherland, and a workshop on the Ghoema and Glitter exhibition, at the Iziko Castle of Good Hope; to name a few of the extensively featured programmes on offer.

Individuals, organisations and interest groups are invited to participate in any of the exciting events featured in the Summer School programme.  Contact Wandile Goozen Kasibe on 021 481 3804/13 or email: [email protected] for more information.

Be sure to check your local publications for your family’s free entry coupon to come and celebrate at Iziko Museums – the hearth of our heritage.