A project titled Unsung Heroes shines a light on those who have and still are contributing to the valuable work of building and preserving the fantastic collections housed in the DITSONG: National Museum of Natural History.
Here, the museum wishes to identify and recognise the work of staff who have largely not received public recognition despite having contributed enormously to the museum.
These staff, referred to as collection attendants, assist in collecting specimens, are responsible for their preparation, and can be seen hard at work, contributing to their long-term care.
The skills and dedication of the staff preparing the specimens ought to be appreciated and recognised, and Unsung Heroes aims to do just that.
Reflecting on South Africa’s colonial and apartheid past, the DITSONG: National Museum of Natural History had no black curators or directors before democracy in 1994. While this is a celebration of the important work preparators did, there is a sadness about how many of these people may have been curators/scientists and directors, were it not for the history of the time they lived through, which denied them that opportunity.