During the centenary of the Great Trek, the ATKV launched a country-wide campaign to collect Voortrekker (Pioneer) memorabilia. The large number of museum items which were collected, were temporarily stored in Hartenbos with an idea to, one day, display these items in the Voortrekker Monument’s own museum. The doyenne of museums in the Transvaal at the time, Mrs Kotie Roodt-Coetzee also strove towards such a museum.
Although there was no space for a museum within the Monument, a temporary display in the basement during the inauguration in 1949 drew much attention and rekindled the dream of a permanent Voortrekker display. In the meantime, the National Cultural History Museum in Pretoria took care of the objects, which were donated to the Monument.
Eventually a new “Voortrekker Museum” was constructed on the site in the 1960’s. The building also provided space for the 15 tapestry panels that were donated to the Board by the “Vrou en Moederbond” of the ATKV in 1960. The Cultural History Museum continued to control this Museum until March 2000 when the Board of the Voortrekker Monument and Nature Reserve finally took over its management.
The museum was moved back to the basement of the Monument in December 2000. Information panels were added to the exhibition in order to create a balanced picture of the Pioneers, their every-day life and relations with other inhabitants of southern Africa. The tapestry was moved to the Cenotaph Hall where the flags of the various Boer Republics also hang. The museum is definitely worth a visit.
The building where the museum was housed is utilized as office space for the expanding personnel at the Monument. Part of the building has been adapted for an art gallery.