Today we visited Liliesleaf, which was a house/property that was used by members of the liberation movement here in South Africa from 1961 to 1963. Before this visit I had never even heard of Liliesleaf, so it was great to learn quite a bit about it at this house turned museum.
First, I’d just like to mention how much I appreciate South Africa’s tendency to use the actual historical place they want to focus on to hold the museum instead of building an entirely new place. Liliesleaf is the actual house that was used by many members of the liberation movement – they (including Nelson Mandela) were physically there were we were today, sitting in those rooms and talking politics. I think it’s really cool to be in the same place as others who were extremely important to the progression of their country.
Another thing that was nice about this museum was the video/film footage that was presented throughout. It can be difficult or tiring having to read all of the information presented in museums, so it was nice to simply watch films that helped explain what was going on inside the home’s walls as opposed to reading endless material. Plus, getting the actual stories from people who were involved in the liberation movement was great, because the story was coming directly from them instead of being paraphrased.
I was also very impressed at the advancement of this particular museum, as it had so many interesting technologies that were interactive. At the Apartheid Museum, the TV screens that were displayed throughout were playing on a loop, so it was difficult to catch many of the videos at the beginning. People have to stand in front of them and wait for them to start over to watch the video. But at Liliesleaf, their videos were able to be controlled by buttons that corresponded with whatever part of the video you wanted to watch – so you could start at the beginning, middle, or end of a video and restart it before it finished if you wanted to. I was also intruguiged by the touchscreen table that was there that allowed visitors to stand (four at a time) and swipe through the information themselves and read it/listen to it without having to move around the room.
This museum was overall very well made and put together, making it easy to find your way through it and go through the exhibits in an orderly manner. I really enjoyed going there because the exhibits gave me information about a part of the Apartheid movement that I had no idea about. Also, I like how there was a focus on political leaders who were involved in trying to liberate South Africa besides Nelson Mandela, as the information I gathered about those individuals (along with any other outside research I conduct) will help me quite a bit with answering my research question.