25 Apr 2023
Tsumeb is a household name for mineral fans worldwide. Nowhere else on earth have so many minerals been discovered as in this mining town in northern Namibia. A considerable part of these minerals is now accessible to Namibian holidaymakers directly in the town: in the Tsumeb Mineralogic and Mining Museum (TMMM).
"The museum's collection currently consists of around 250 minerals, so-called specimens", explains project manager and chairman of the Tsumeb Museum Association (Museumsverein), Jens Frautschy, when asked by Namibian.org. "We have selected a good half of them for the exhibition." But this is only the beginning. More showcases and a darkened area with special UV light that makes crystals glow in the dark are planned.
The museum is located in the mineralogy building on the historic Tsumeb Mine site. The German Embassy supported the renovation with 15,000 euros. It provided another 20,000 euros to equip the rooms with display cases, office furniture and computers. A state-of-the-art security system was also installed. This includes cameras in the rooms, a specially secured outer door, secured windows and an alarm system.
The building, which dates back to 1950, also houses the extensive archives for geological samples and maps. Frautschy estimates that there are thousands of mineral samples and about 1,500 maps. The next step is to systematically record and digitise the holdings.
The total sum of 35,000 Euros currently corresponds to about N$700,000. The mining company Dundee Precious Metals acquired the building and provides the rooms rent-free. Other partners are the Tsumeb Museum, the Berlin University of Applied Sciences (HTW Berlin) and the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM). Private donors are also welcome for further projects.
More than 300 different minerals have been discovered in Tsumeb. Around 40 of them have never been found anywhere else. But in Tsumeb itself, interested people have not yet been able to look at them. Only the crystal gallery in Swakopmund showed and still shows a selection of beautiful specimens.
The Mineralogy and Mining Museum in Tsumeb is part of a plan to develop the historic mine site as a national heritage site. The project stems from a decision taken by the National Heritage Council of Namibia (NHC) and the Tsumeb Municipality in April 2021.
There are six decades of mining equipment on the site. By prior arrangement and for a small fee, Jens Frautschy offers groups a tour into the mining past.
The mining town of Tsumeb is a must for Namibia holidaymakers interested in the country's geology and history. It is well suited as a stopover on the way between Windhoek, Etosha and the Zambezi region.
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