On behalf of the Council of this Museum, one of the largest natural- and cultural-history museums in South Africa, it is with great pleasure that I notify you of a change of its name from Natal Museum to KwaZulu-Natal Museum. The new name was officially gazetted by the previous Minister of Arts & Culture, the Honourable Ms. Lulu Xingwana, MP, in 2010, but its announcement has been delayed for logistical reasons.
Following a thorough and open discussion about the changing landscape of the heritage sector at a meeting in 2007, the Council of the Natal Museum unanimously resolved to undertake a process to change the name of the institution, as the old name no longer addressed the true role of the Museum and the transformation of the sector and the country as a whole.
A task team consisting of Council members and staff was formed in order to carry out this process and submit recommendations to Council. The process of obtaining a new name involved public participation whereby the public at large was invited via the print media to submit recommendations. A panel of experts, appointed by the Council, reviewed the public’s suggestions and made recommendations for a new name. The panel included respected experts in the fields of History, Onomastics and Museology.
Having reviewed the numerous names suggested, the panel recommended the name KwaZulu-Natal Museum because it was seen as a reflection of the expanding role of the Museum and its broad contributions to nation building, social cohesion and national identity. After the review process, the proposed name was approved by the Museum’s Council, and was then submitted to the Minister of Arts & Culture for further approval and gazetting, which was done. In terms of the Cultural Institutions Act of 1998, the Museum’s name was officially changed to KwaZulu-Natal Museum on 2 May 2010.
The Council and staff members of the KwaZulu-Natal Museum would like to thank all members of the public for their contributions and interest shown during this important phase of the Museum’s development. The KwaZulu-Natal Museum will continue rendering and expanding its renowned educational and natural- and cultural-science services to our province and country, and invites the public to support it on a “never ending journey of discovery”.
Prof. D.J. Brothers
Chairperson, Council of the KwaZulu-Natal Museum