The Graaff-Reinet Museum or “Reinet House”, formerly a Dutch Reformed Church parsonage, was built at the expense of the Government in 1812 during the ministry of the Rev. Kicherer. It was the home of three ministers prior to 1822, the year in which the Rev. Andrew Murray, from Aberdeenshire, Scotland, became the resident minister. After his death in 1866 the parsonage was occupied by his son Charles until his death in 1904. By 1906 the building was being used as a boarding establishment for girls wishing to train as teachers, and it was then that the late Miss Helen Murray, a sister of Rev. Charles Murray, and for many years principal of the Midland Seminary, named the house “Reinet House”.
Later it was used as a residence for Training College students. In 1944 the building became unoccupied, and started falling into despair. In 1947 it was bought by the Graaff-Reinet Publicity Association from the D. R. Church for R 4 000. Restoration work, supervised by well-known Pretoria architect, Mr Norman Eaton, A.R.B.A., M.I.A., was started in 1952 and continued for four years. In 1956 the Governor General, the Right Hon. E. G. Jansen, officially opened the Graaff-Reinet Museum.
Reinet House, a fine example of a Cape H-plan house, may have been designed by Louis M. Thibault who designed the Drostdy at Graaff-Reinet. Much of the building material was acquired locally.
High up in the gable is an hourglass, with extended wings, reputed to have been placed there to remind even the most thoughtless that ‘Time flies’. On 1 May 1980 a fire destroyed the back portion of the building, but fortunately much of the contents were saved. With the aid of public donations and with professional guidance to ensure an authentic restoration, reconstruction of the building was undertaken so that it could once again house the fine collection of period furniture and relics of the past.
Monday – Thursday 08:00 – 16:30
Friday 08:00 – 16:00
Saturdays 09:00 – 13:00
Sundays 09:00 – 13:00
Public holidays 09:00 – 13:00
Premises used for wedding pictures
Guided tours on request
Educational tour on request
- History of The Murray Family, occupants of the house for more than 80 years
- The Laubscher doll collection
- A Mill house with water wheel
- Grape vine planted in 1870
- Period furniture
- Withond distillery
- Rykie Pretorius Clothing Collection