The idea of having a museum in Fish Hoek had been talked about for a long time before it became a reality. In 1978 the Fish Hoek Town Council convened a public meeting to discuss the idea and the Fish Hoek Valley Historical Association was formed. Initially a new building was envisaged but the money to build it was never available.In 1993 the Fish Hoek Town Council, who were very interested in the project, gave the Historical Association the use of a municipal house and the museum was in business. As the Historical Association committees were always changing it was decided to form a Trust to provide continuity of governance. The Fish Hoek Valley Museum Trust is still the governing body and all collections and monies are held in their name. There is no outside funding, apart from the use of the building, and all the staff are volunteers. This means that improvements can only be made if the money is raised.

The museum opened in February 1994 with a display of historical photographs. For many years items of supposed historical interest had been collected at the Fish Hoek Library in anticipation of a museum and a room full of boxes and black bags had to be sorted. It was interesting to see what people had decided was of historical value!

There are three rooms containing displays. The Peers Cave room has photographs from the Peers excavation in the 1920s and stone tools found in the Fish Hoek Valley. The history of the Fish Hoek Farm, the founding of the village and its growth are portrayed in another room and the whaling in Fish Hoek Bay and our Hack Group recorded in the third room.

There is also a collection of local archives and we answer many local research queries from all over the world. We have over a thousand photographs of the area from Lakeside to Kommetjie and an almost complete collection of Fish Hoek Echoes, which tell the social history of Fish Hoek. Other documents of local interest help us in answering research queries, which are often related to local families or servicemen who came through Cape Town during World War 2 and were entertained by local families.

The museum, at 59 Central Circle, Fish Hoek, is open from 9.30am to 12.30pm from Tuesday to Saturday, entry R5.00. Local history talks for groups can be arranged by appointment. Phone 021 782 1752 or e-mail fhvmuseum@kingsley.co.za.

Written by Joy Cobern