Named after the hill at the base of which the museum is situated, “Talana” meaning “the shelf where precious items are stored” is a most appropriate name for this large and varied museum. Started in 1979 to commemorate the Anglo Zulu war, the small collection moved to the present site at the beginning of 1983. A 20 acre section of “Dundee” farm, bought in 1982, for the development of a museum to commemorate the centenary of Dundee, included the home and farmsteading of one of the founders of the town, the site of the first coal mining activity in this area and portion of the Talana battlefield.
The displays of weapons, uniforms, photographs and artifacts dramatically depict the conflict between the Zulu, Boer and Brit, as well as an insight into the Bushmen, the earliest settlers of the region.
Glass has been manufactured in this valley since the end of the 19th century. Although the factory no longer exists, the museum is home to a magnificent collection of glass from around the world and South Africa. Dundee became the heart of the richest coal producing area in the country.
A superb collection of beadwork depicting the cultures of the many different African groups and the use of beads in all Indian and western cultures in South Africa, may be viewed in the Bead Gallery.
The museum has four extensive coal exhibits depicting the many aspects of coal mining in this area and preserving the proud and unique heritage of our mining history.
Talana Museum also boasts a comprehensive range of archival material relating to the town, region, coal mining and military conflicts in this area over the past two centuries. Researchers have access to these records. The thousands of documents / archival collections are divided into the following categories: