Heart of Cape Town Museum
December 3, 1967 marked one of the greatest moments in medical history – the world’s first heart transplant. A team led by Professor Christiaan Neethling Barnard performed the operation in the Charles Saint Theatre of Cape Town’s Groote Schuur Hospital in Observatory.
Today the Heart of Cape Town Museum honours those who played a major role in a surgical feat that pushed the boundaries of science into the dawn of a new medical era. A and B theatres are the original general surgery theatres used for the first heart transplant. They remain laid out to create a fully authentic representation of the pioneering operation.
Barnard was a brilliant surgeon who commanded great respect and admiration. He was an innovative researcher, dedicated caregiver, a great South African ambassador, writer, businessman and family man whose motto was, “One life is enough, if well lived.”
For a fee of R50, an exclusive shuttle service escorts visitors from their hotels to the Heart of Cape Town Museum for a guided tour and returns them to their hotel afterwards. The tour costs R100 for South African citizens, R50 for students and R200 for international visitors. Prices exclude value-added tax of 14%. Shows start at 09h00, 11h00, 13h00 and 15h00 daily. The itinerary covers the introductory room, accident room, animal laboratory, the race to transplant the first heart, a timeline of events that led up to the operation, the donor – Denise Darvall – and a Barnard exhibit.
For a first-hand review of the experience, read Kate Turkington’s guest blog, Relive a dramatic moment of medical history.
Did you know?
The world’s first human heart transplant took place at Cape Town’s Groote Schuur Hospital in 1967.
Martin Melck House is one of the oldest colonial homes in South Africa named after its first owner. Its history is intimately entwined with that of Cape Town itself.
PRINS & PRINS DIAMONDS MUSEUM OF GEMS AND JEWELLERY
This unique museum project takes visitors on a journey from when diamonds first began to form three billion years ago and their 150 km journey to the surface, following the unique path of South African diamonds from their origin in extinct volcanoes to the deposits along our coastline. Learn about unique and rare gemstones, and see how jewellery has changed through thousands of years. The story about South Africa’s mineral wealth is told, not only for diamonds, but also for our Platinum and Gold deposits.
This cultural village aims to remind us of our origin and serves as the reservoir for African knowledge pertaining to nature and traditions, giving us an opportunity to celebrate who we are through music (wonderful sounds from live bands) or from its’ distinct fineness of cuisine, topped up with African (local) arts and crafts.
Hot summer sun, extra long days and warm nights, sun-kissed skin and time to spend with loved ones; summer in Cape Town is the ideal time to get outdoors and enjoy getting closer to the spectacular nature that is within minutes from the bustling city.
Diamonds were formed three billion years ago by molecular-changing heat of around 1 300 °C, deep within the Earth’s crust. If you didn’t know that, then you have not been to the Cape Town Diamond Museum.
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