This building, earlier known as ‘The Lodge’, was built in 1889. It was owned by JB Currey, manager of the London and South African Exploration Company. Later it became the property of De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd, who then donated it to the Kimberley City Council on the condition that it must house the Duggan-Cronin Collection.
AM Duggan-Cronin came to Kimberley in 1897 and worked in the De Beers compounds. There he familiarized himself with the different African tribes working on the mines and also began to build up a photographic record of them. Later he undertook expeditions to the main tribal areas where he took photographs of the people before the Western influence could drastically change their own traditional lifestyles. These expeditions were made possible through research grants and donations from the Carnegie Trust.
Some of his most popular publications are The Bushman Tribes of Southern Africa and The Bantu Tribes of South Africa (depicting his photographic collection). The latter consists of about 8000 negatives and photographic prints as well as artifacts of the material culture of the tribes, including beadwork, costumes, pottery, iron tools and woodcarvings.
The McGregor Museum is responsible for the maintenance of the Duggan-Cronin collection, housed in the Duggan-Cronin Gallery, since 1938.
At first the building was known as the Duggan-Cronin Bantu Gallery, but the term ‘bantu‘ was dropped from the name in 1986. While ‘bantu‘ was a progressive term for Black people in South Africa at the time of Duggan-Cronin, it has derogatory connotations at the present time.