Museums don’t just run themselves – it takes a dedicated team of individuals with specialised skills to research the history of artefacts, collate exhibitions and preserve collections, amongst other things. Below are some of the team employed by Durban Local History Museums to make all these things happen:
Mohau Qalaza has been employed by eThekwini Municipality’s Local History Museums as a Senior Curator for Bergtheil, Cato Manor Heritage Centre, Old House and Pinetown Museums since July 2010. She previously served as a temporary Education Officer, and later as a Museum Officer, for ten years. She is the Membership Secretary for the International Council of Museums-SA Board Committee.
Steven Kotze has been employed as a researcher by Local History Museums since 2013. He has worked on projects ranging from the Nat Nakasa commemorative exhibition, Native of Nowhere, to displays on the respective centenaries of the 1913 Land Act and the First World War. A personal highlight was the research and community consultation he conducted for the new permanent exhibition at Mpumalanga Heritage Centre, depicting the effects of apartheid violence on the community, as well as the process that brought about peace. He is also the editor of the Local History Museum magazine, Umlando.
Neil Stuart-Harris is the textile conservator at the Local History Museums, and presides over a remarkable collection of clothes and costumes from Durban’s past. In addition to the artefacts he takes care of, Stuart-Harris has devised a number of creative and resourceful methods for protecting and storing the museums’ material collection. Jenny Stretton has worked at the Durban Art Gallery since 1988, and is currently employed as the Curator of Collections.
Ayanda Ngcobo and Gugu Ntshangase both began their careers in the world of museums as interns. Ayanda, who also has experience working in the archives of the Inanda Seminary, is now employed as Museum Officer for the Bergtheil Museum in Westville.
Having completed her internship at the KwaZulu Cultural Museum, Gugu went on to become a trainee curatorial assistant to the Collection Manager. In 2017, she joined the Durban Local History Museums as a researcher.