Origins Centre Museum

Origins Centre Museum, Johannesburg: Hours, Address, Origins Centre Museum Reviews: 4.5/5

Origins Centre Museum
4.5
Speciality Museums • Science Museums • Art Museums • History Museums
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Africa is where our ancestors evolved into human beings; it’s only fitting then that the bustling metropolis of Johannesburg, South Africa, is where the Origins Centre Museum has been established. Conceptualised by a team of academics and designers from Wits University, the museum aims to provide visitors with a unique experience of Africa’s rich, complex heritage. The Museum boasts an extensive collection of rock art from the Wits Rock Art Research Institute (RARI), affording visitors the opportunity to view the earliest images made by humans, found in South Africa. Combining cutting-edge technology with the creative vision of some of South Africa’s foremost artists, the museum’s exhibits take visitors on an extraordinary voyage of discovery, which begins with the origins of humankind in Africa, and then moves through the development of art, symbolism, and technology on the continent. The Origins Centre Museum restores the African continent to its rightful place in history – at the very beginning of mankind’s journey to humanity. We are also home to a vast array of palaeoanthropological, archaeological and genetic materials charting the origins of humankind. These include ancient tools, artefacts of spiritual significance to early humans and examples of the region’s striking rock art. Visitors to our museum can expect to take follow an 80 000-year path in search of the art and culture that has inspired human innovation, as well as delve into the fascinating beliefs of the ancient San, experiencing ritual such as hunting and the trance dance. Audio guides come with the price of admission and are available in six languages – Zulu, Sotho, English, Afrikaans, French and German.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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Tours and Tickets

Popular mentions

4.5
245 reviews
Excellent
127
Very good
83
Average
26
Poor
8
Terrible
1

jonson
20 contributions
my favorite places at the Uni! Amazing place with beaut art! I
Sep. 2020
You could spend an entire day at the Wits Origins Centre Museum with so much of information at your access. The staff are passionate about what they do and always willing to share information and assist you. Definitely a place worth taking children to, and in the process increasing your knowledge too. A gem with many impressed international tourists. Private companies should consider assisting with funding to expand this museum.
Written 19 January 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Charlene C
8 contributions
A bit hard to find but well worth the effort!
Mar. 2020
Signage on campus is a little lacking and finding it can be difficult. For the adventure person like myself, I wandered around looking at the architecture and other departmental museums/displays before some nice lady in the Anthropology department gave me directions! Once I got there there was a wealth of information there I will spend the next several months learning more about.
Written 14 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Boracaybound
Kingscliff, Australia117 contributions
Poor Access & Poor Origin display
Jan. 2020
Great if you want a stone age, rock art museum or San people museum but I came away dissapointed at the actual Origins display - not alot of detail and skuls etc stuffed in drawers.
This was after the major debacle to park and lack of signs - we couldnt access parking because we didnt have an SA licence , couldnt just walk up the path and around boom gates - no walk miles out of the way with no clear directions
Written 13 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

moodieancic
Polokwane, South Africa73 contributions
Extremely interesting
Jan. 2020 • Family
Excellent place to take a look at the initial history of South Africa. A treasure trove of art and artifacts. We bacame 'lost' in learning.
Written 7 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Traveljunkievn
2 contributions
Excellent museum. Very informative.
Nov. 2019
I spent about 2 hours at this museum. The exhibits are self-explanatory but the audio provides even more information. The rock art in this museum is amazing. I would definitely not miss this museum if you have the time. I am not a science person but you can't help but be fascinated by the information provided in this museum. Very well organized. The shop at the end of the museum has very interesting books, CD's and other unusual crafts.
Written 28 November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

El_Jibarito
Grayslake, IL11 contributions
Charged me twice!
Nov. 2019 • Solo
Trying to get into this place is like entering a prison. No clear signage whatsoever where to enter. I am near the facility but security tells me I have to go down the street to a visitors entrance. After finding it and paying to enter, I get the story that they are having trouble with the credit card machine. Supposedly an error pops up when cars is used. So I pay with cash. Then later in the day when I get online, I get an alert that I my card was charged by the museum.

Regarding the museum, it was interesting an pretty interactive. To save you a headache, avoid using your credit card
Written 20 November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Ian E
Honolulu, HI27 contributions
Disappointed
Sep. 2019
This is my second visit to the museum and I took two New Zealand friends, telling them it was fantastically interesting and something we really should do while visiting Jo'burg. My enthusiasm was based on the fact that it has a wonderful collection of humanoid artifacts and some important material about the "cradle of civilzation" which is the southern and eatsern African savannah. I was an undergraduate and graduate student of psychology at Wits University (the University of the Witwatersrand where the museum is housed) and now an emeritus professor of psychology, and I knew about and have followed the work of famous Wits professors of anthropology such as Raymond Dart and Phillip Tobias, the exploration of major cave systems such as Sterkfontein, and now the recent work of Lee Berger, a Wits prof and an American paleoanthropologist. So given all that, I was very disappointed at the poor quality of the displays, none of the video monitors actually worked or were not turned on, and the tired, confusing, and jumbled layout telling you next to nothing about the research and discoveries and what it all means for the "origins" of mankind. I was embarrassed that I'd dragged my friends there for such a poor exhibition. One mitigating factor was an excellent special exhibit and interpretation of the Koi San people, and some nice reproductions of their rock paintings. The staff were friendly, there is a very comprehensive bookstore, and a so-so café with some tables outside (it was a very hot day and we wanted ice-cream but the machine wasn't working). We went there by Uber as there is security to get onto campus and terrible parking, so that's what I'd recommend. I do feel that a major university such as Wits that has made a fantastic contribution to understanding the emergence of homo sapiens in Southern Africa, should be able to support a much more serious, attractive, and scientific experience for visitors to Johannesburg. You should still go to it if you can, it's important, and this review is mainly for the university administrators in charge!
Written 18 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

LeighAnne712
Denton, TX143 contributions
This is a must see if you have historical interest in the ancient San people
Aug. 2019
This was my top choice during a afternoon stopover in Johannesburg. I had read several Wilbur Smith books that featured the incredible San tribes and their history that I had to see this incredible museum. The artwork and displayed history was amazing and became so real for me. There is some videos and you will come out with a true respect for these folks and their life and history.
Written 26 September 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Renee C
Eugene, OR124 contributions
enjoyed by a 13 year old
Aug. 2019
We hadn't realized the museum was on the university campus so parking was a bit confusing for us at first. The guard at the gate was kind and friendly though and gave great directions.

Our 13 year old daughter had recently learned about human evolution in school. At each display she enjoyed telling us what she had learned about the topic and then reading the display to learn more. After we moved into the cultural part of the museum she continued to enjoy the displays. As a visitor it can be difficult to truly learn about a culture, especially cultural history. The museum helped fill that gap in our experience.
Written 15 September 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Giselle1106
Pasadena, CA71 contributions
Humanities Common Ancestry
Jul. 2019 • Solo
This is an absolutely fantastic and totally unique museum. Not to be missed! The best way to experience it is with a museum guide who is intimately familiar with the outlay of the museum, the secrets buried in various drawers, reproductions of the different ancient sculls discovered over the years, sculls you are actually allowed to handle. Brian, an enthusiastic and very knowledgeable employee, was my wonderful guide and I treasured our conversation. Wish I could have come back for a second, longer visit.
Written 27 July 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Origins Centre Museum

Origins Centre Museum is open:
  • Mon - Sat 10:00 am - 5:00 pm