National Museum of Military History

During the First World War (1914 – 1918) no formal showcase was made of South Africa’s involvement in that war. In 1940, Capt. J. Agar-Hamilton was appointed official historian of the Union Defence Forces. The formation of an Historical Research Committee that same year was to ensure the preservation of documents and military memorabilia and lay the foundation for the establishment of a museum..

The South African National War Museum officially opened on 29 August 1947 by former Prime Minister of South Africa, Field Marshal J.C. Smuts PC, CM, OM, DTD, KC.  At the opening ceremony, Smuts stated the following: “… We are gathered here today to open what may not unfairly be looked upon as a memorial to the greatest united effort our country has been called upon to produce.  Memorials, of course, have more than one use. They serve to remind us of what is past, of great deeds of heroism and sacrifice; they also serve as a pointer and sometimes as a warning to the future.

It is in these senses that the South African War Museum may be regarded as a memorial. It will remind us, I hope, not only of the part we played in the recent great struggle to save civilisation, but also of the horrors, the loss of life and the devastation, and serve as a warning to us to create a world in which we shall never have to use again the weapons of mass destruction we see here today, or those dreadful weapons to follow them …”

Marshall Smuts's statement explained

He was referring to South Africa’s participation in the Second World War and had pinpointed the raison d’etre of the Museum’s existence. In 1975, the Museum’s name changed to the South African National Museum of Military History. Its scope was expanded to include the history of all military conflicts in which South Africans have played a part. The Museum also serves as a popular and unusual venue for conferences and other functions.

The Merger

In 1999, following the restructuring process of national museums, the Museum was amalgamated with the Transvaal Museum of Natural History and the National Cultural History Museum into the Northern Flagship Institution. In 2009 it was renamed DITSONG: Museums of South Africa, and the Museum is now called the DITSONG: National Museum of Military History.

Its Significance

The Museum is also known as the spiritual and symbolic home for all soldiers and veterans in South Africa. As a result, several veterans’ organisations use the Museum as their headquarters. The South African Military History Society, the South African Arms and Ammunition Collectors Association, the South African Arms and Armour Society, the Gold Reef Scale Modelers and the Warsaw Flights Commemoration Committee, use the Museum for monthly and annual meetings and are considered part of the 20 organisations that are stakeholders.

Our Mission

To be a memorial for all South Africans who have died in or as a result of military actions and to preserve our nation’s military history for future generations.

A visit to the Museum may include:
  • An opportunity to study relevant artefacts on display
  • A guided tour, available on request during the week
  • An opportunity on weekdays to use our extensive library and photographic facilities for research purposes on weekdays only.

The Museum provides programmes and activities for all age groups.


Per hour R550 per photographer (Other)
Per hour R2000 for filming
Per hour R250 per student photographer (Student with Student card, matriculants)  
Per hour R500 per photographer in training (under the supervision of a professional photographer)
Daily package minimum of R16 000

Clients are advised not to leave valuables or electronic equipment unattended on the property, as the Museum cannot be held responsible for the loss thereof.


Auditorium + Marrieres Wood Room

  • R1050 per hour, 3- 6hours
  • R1250 per hour, 6hours+

Delville Wood Room

  • R850 per hour, 3-6hours
  • R1050 per hour, 6hours+

Marrieres Wood Room

  • R850per hour, 3-6hours
  • R1050 per hour, 6hours+

Delville Wood Room + Marrieres Wood Room

  • R1050per hour, 3-6hours
  • R1250per hour, 6hours+

Dan Piernaar Gun Park

  • R850 per hour, 3-6hours
  • R1050 per hour, 6hours+


  • R500 per hour, 3-6hours
  • R550 per hour, 6hours+

Dan Piernaar Gun Park + Delville Wood Room

  • R1750 per hour, 3-6hours
  • R1850 per hour, 6hours+

JC Lemmer Auditorium

  • R850 per hour, 3-6hours
  • R1050 per hour, 6hours+

Digital Projector

  • R545

Scans from collections

  • R100

Photocopies on A4

  • R20


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Free Parking Available for All Visitors

Prices for Adults, Children and Pensioners

Admission Fees

  • Adults
  • R 50
  • Children
  • R35.00 Guided tour
  • R 30
  • Pensioners
  • R 30
  • Learners
  • R35.00 per learner/student (guided tour)
  • R 30
  • Educators
    • Free admission for educator/lecturer per group of 20 learners.
  • R 40
  • International Tourist
    • Adult
  • R 100
  • International Tourist
    • Child
  • R 50
    • Adult, Includes Picnic Lawn
  • R 50
  • Garden and Braai Area
    • Child
  • R 30
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