A PLACE THAT MATTERS YET, John Gubbins's MuseumAfrica in the postcolonial world

: Byala (S.)

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330pp., illus., paperback, Chicago, 2013


Sara Byala traces the history of MuseumAfrica in Johannesburg. The museum, formerly known as the Africana Museumn, was established in 1933, when the Johannesburg Public Library bought a large quantity of African material culture and books from John Gaspard Gubbins. The museum's scope widened to include all aspects of African cultural history and material culture. In 1994 the museum was refurbished and renamed Museum Africa.

"Sara Byala has given us a meticulously detailed and researched account of the history and transformation of a single institution: MuseumAfrica. In so doing she reminds the reader of the value of micro-history as a tool for comprehending the broader issues raised by museological developments in South Africa today." Annie Coombes, University of London

Historian Sara Byala is Senior Writing Fellow in the Center for Progress in Contemporary Writing at the University of Pennsylvania.