1893 The early years

The first Museum in Knysna was housed in the small entrance hall of the 1893 Knysna Library. The exhibits were housed in glass cases containing geographical specimens and Mrs. Metelerkamp’s beetle collection and included a collection of guns.

The next attempt to establish a museum was made much later when in 1969, Ernest Meyer, the Mayor of Knysna, suggested the Council approve the calling of a meeting of interested local bodies to form a museum as a Town Project. It was proposed that the Provincial Administration would run it. This project was unsuccessful. 

1972 Third time lucky

The need for a museum in Knysna became an issue again when it became clear that elderly folk in Knysna, who wished to donate old and valuable possessions and historical records to a museum in Knysna, had no choice but to send their possessions to museums in neighbouring cities. The Millwood House Museum was officially opened on 1 August 1972 and was operated under the auspices of the Friends of the Millwood House Museum, a voluntary organisation.

2002 The Knysna Historical Society

The Knysna Historical Society has its roots in the Friends of Millwood Museum and was formally established in 2002. By this time the Millwood House Museum had been handed over into the care of the Knysna Municipality. Whilst retaining its close association with the Museums of Knysna, the aims of the Society have been widened to include the encouraging of historical research and historical tourism and the protection of the heritage buildings and historic sites. The society hosts regular historical presentations by experts on matters of historical interest and group outings to places of historical and heritage interest.

Current membership is 230 members (June 2019)

Further details may be obtained from the Membership Secretary Mrs. Helen Levin on helenjlevin@gmail.com

History of the logo of Knysna Historical Society

The initiative to prepare a new logo for the Knysna Historical Society was motivated on the grounds of the need to have a distinctive and easily recognisable brand mark, which gives some background to the origins of the Society.

This was required due to the planned Heritage Buildings signage project as it was an opportunity of promoting the Society on these heritage signs by incorporating a logo in the design.

A number of alternative logos were considered, including the “Hourglass” design and the “Sailing Ship” design, which had been in use some time earlier, but finally it was agreed to use a picture of the Millwood House building, which building has been used as the core of the Millwood House Museum in Queen Street.

Numerous pencil sketches were available for this purpose, but the drawing by Malcolm Fraser, brother of Margaret Parkes, was selected due to its relative simplicity. Malcolm Fraser B. Arch, ARIBA, was an architect.

This sketch was first used in the booklet by Margaret Parkes called Exploring Knysna’s Historic Countryside, first published in 1989.

The design of the logo, with its coinage border, was designed by Sue Maule in 2009.