The Michaelhouse community celebrated a special day this Heritage Month with the opening of the its Heritage Centre – a modern facility specially designed to house interactive digital and physical displays celebrating the school’s rich 122-year history.
The project – a joint initiative of the school and the Old Boys’ Club – was kickstarted in 2012 when an ambitious plan to become the first South African school to digitise its history was implemented. What followed was a year-long process of digitising all of the school’s yearbooks, records, minutes, letters and more than 11 000 photographic images documenting changing life at the school since its inception in 1896.
The venture included hundreds of meta-tagged images of plaques, memorials, statues and interesting architectural elements of the school. Dozens of schools around the country have since embarked on similar projects in conjunction with Africa Media Online.
Now, six years later, a gathering of staff, boys, board members, the Bishop of Natal, and interested parties enjoyed the opening of the new home of Michaelhouse’s heritage on Friday, 14 September.
The 980 square metre facility includes modern heat and moisture controlled basement facilities, an eye-catching interactive display area, a gallery space dedicated to the many renowned artists who have passed through the school’s ranks, offices, and meeting rooms and is set to be a wonderful addition to the Midlands Meander.
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School archivist, Robyn Gruijters quipped enthusiastically that the Heritage Centre will “be one of the best school museums in South Africa!”
The day was also marked by small ceremonies unveiling stones of the two new boarding houses set to open their doors in 2020 which will mark the end to an explosive era of infrastructural development at the school which has included a heated long-course waterpolo facility, a state-of-the-art sciences and engineering centre and a second water-based astro turf pitch.
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