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“Love the history”
3 of 5 bubbles Review of Observatory Museum

Observatory Museum
Ranked #3 of 18 things to do in Grahamstown
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: This odd house is an eclectic melange of architectural styles, the whimsy of amateur astronomer Henry Carter Galpin. Locals would set their watches by the time on Galpin’s clock tower.
Darwin
Level Contributor
36 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Love the history”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 October 2013

I loved this quirky little museum and the 'real' sense you got of how people would have lived there back in the 1800's. The camera obscura was fascinating; I suppose in a way it was the world's first 'reality show' where people could spy on one another's activities?! The museum staff were friendly and chatty and we spent a very comfortable 1.5 hours or so wandering around the place.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
Thank Gerberas0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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40 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    13
    21
    3
    0
    3
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Eastern Cape, South Africa
Level Contributor
5 reviews
“interesting in an old-fashioned way”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 July 2013

The Observatory is worthwhile for the novelty of the 'camera obscura' which gives you a reflected view of the whole of central Grahamstown -- for a low price. The science behind the camera obscura it is interesting; watching pedestrians and spotting landmark sites around town is good fun! The rest of the museum is a bit 'olde-world' i.e. glass display cases with artefacts from early European residents, an intriguing range of old typewriters etc. It's very different to modern interactive museums so don't expect high-tech, glitsy displays -- just very authentic, somewhat dusty, but otherwise very interesting treasures from an almost forgotten era. Set aside about 30 minutes if you want to take in only the camera obscura. Otherwise, an hour should be enough.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
Thank Lausanne O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Level Contributor
15 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Interesting and unusual Site”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 May 2013

Amazing technology from years back Interesting to see it actually work Interesting museum with many reminders of early settle life

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
Thank Patrick M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Grahamstown, South Africa
Level Contributor
18 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Nice surprise”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 December 2012

You have to visit on a sunny day so you can enjoy the views on the top - there is a really nice surprise I don't want to spoil. I take all my visitors there. The museum itself is old

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
Thank ElviraVN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Grahamstown, South Africa
Level Contributor
19 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Victorian webcam”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 September 2012

Unassuming museum with fabulous camera obscura working with lenses and mirrors. At first it seems odd to see the town projected in colour on the cement disk. Some other oddities like other victorian technology and a quaint tableau of lifelike doll-figures in the Victorian kitchen in the basement.

Helpful?
Thank Skoonveld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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