Baines Returning to Cape Town on the gunboat Lynx in December 1859. From the Iziko William Fehr collection.


The inside of the door panels of a stinkwood cabinet painted with a biblical scene depicting the return of Judge Jephtah. From the Iziko Social History furniture collection.


On view at the Iziko Slave Lodge. From the Iziko Social History textile collection.


An armorial made for the De Wit family. The Englishman John White came to the Cape in 1755 and identified himself so closely with his new country that he chose to be known as Jan de Wit. He was a Burgher Councillor on several occasions in the 1730s and 1740s. Armorial ware is decorated with heraldic arms and crests. Porcelain decorated in this way was made to European order in China, espescially during the 18th century. Engravings, sketches and bookplates were sent to China to serve as a guide for decorators. Armorial ware was also made in Europe. 


Tazza, Probably French, 17th century

Tazza in Italian means cup (the plural is tazze) and it is a shallow saucer-like dish either mounted on a stem and foot or on a foot alone. It is used either for drinking, serving small items of food, or just for ornamental purposes. From the Iziko Social History collections.

Donation: Mrs. B. Bingham


Vase, silver, by Willem Godfried Lotter, Cape Town, 1826. Known as the Woutersen Vase. From the Iziko Social History silver collections.


1955 Wembley Mark V. From the Iziko Social History weaponry collection.

Social History Collections

The nucleus of the original collections was established in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as part of the historical, archaeological and ethnographic collections of the South African Museum (SAM), and later the South African Cultural History Museum (SACHM). These museums form part of Iziko Museums of Cape Town, which includes the South African Museum, Slave Lodge, Groot Constantia, Koopmans-De Wet House, Bertram House, Bo-Kaap Museum, Rust en Vreugd and the  William Fehr Collection in the Castle.

The major collections include:

Collections and Conservation

The Social History Collections Department aims to increase public awareness of the history and cultural heritage of South Africa, past and present. It does this primarily through the interpretation of its collections in pre-colonial, maritime and historical archaeology, as well as historical and contemporary collections. In addition collections from other parts of the world, from antiquity to the present, form part of our holdings.
Since 2005 members of the Department have been involved with packing the collections in preparation for the move to the newly refurbished Iziko Social History Centre in late 2009.
Several new appointments have been made, and attention has been given to staff training and advancement.

Collections Management

Collection Management deals with:

  • Care and management of the collections
  • Database development
  • Handling public enquiries and providing information on the collections
  • Making collections accessible for exhibition and research projects


Paul Tichmann
Email: ptichmann@iziko.org.za
Telephone: +27 (0) 21 467 7215