A Treasure Trove for History Lovers ...

Barberton was established in 1884 when Fred and Henry Barber and their cousin, Graham, discovered gold here. On 24 July 1884 the Gold Commissioner, David Wilson, christened the reef with a bottle of gin, champagne not being available, and named the place Barberton.

Prospectors and fortune seekers flocked to Barberton. The town only flourished for a brief period until gold was discovered on the Witwatersrand and only the larger mines continued operating. By 1898 the nucleus of a museum collection had already been established when Mr. Otto Elkan donated a collection of, among other things, quartz and other mineral specimens and natural history curios which were displayed in the Carnegie library.

From these humble beginnings the museum now consists of a Main Museum where the geology, mining, Swazi and general history of Barberton are displayed, as well as Belhaven and Stopforth House Museums, Fernlea Museum and the Block House.