Established in 1921 and considered to be one of the most interesting natural and cultural history museums in the country, the East London Museum features a number of fine exhibits, including the type specimen of the coelacanth, a fish previously believed to have become extinct some 80 million years ago, together with an extensive collection of beadwork relating to the Xhosa-speaking people.
Collection highlights include the excavation of a large fossil reptile skull and skeleton, Kannemeyria simocephalus, near Tarkastad in 1934; the discovery of the coelacanth in 1938, which resulted in national acclaim for the Museum; an informative display of maritime history of the area; work on trace human and animal trace fossil footprints found in coastal sandstone rockface, dated at 124 000 years old; and the recent dating of the Hofmeyr skull at 36 000 years.
- Monday – Thursday: 08:30 – 16:30;
- Fridays: 08:30 – 16:00;
- Saturdays: 09:00 – 13:00;
- Sunday and Public Holidays: 10:00 – 13:00; and
- Christmas Day – Closed.