Transplant Museum


Transplant Museum review 2 Users say 3/5 Rate it

Get to know more about Dr Christiaan Barnard and the day he made history when he transplanted the world's first human heart in 1967. The attention to detail in this slick museum is astounding - from the carbon copy of Denise Darvall's (the first heart donor's) bedroom, to reams of correspondence, including a reluctant congratulatory letter from Barnard's American counterpart, Dr Norman Shumway. There are also quirky artefacts such as the bumper sticker exclaiming 'Drivers beware: Barnard is waiting'. Step through the painstakingly re-created operating theatres where eerily realistic wax sculptures of Dr Barnard and his team are displayed, shown giving first heart recipient Louis Washkansky a new lease of life, complete with a soundtrack of clinking scalpels.

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Transplant Museum details

Groote Schuur Hospital, Old Main Building, Block E, Hospital Road,

Area Cape Town

Telephone 21 404 1967

Transplant Museum website

Tours 9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm daily.

Admission R100 adults (R200 for foreign visitors); R35 reductions.

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Comments & ratings 3/5 (Average of 2 ratings)

By Daneel van der Walt - Aug 28 2015

I tried to contact someone through the museum website, but it is proving to be useless. My cousin and I went to the museum yesterday, the 28th of August, simply to look around. He is a paramedic and has extensive knowledge of the story. We were told by an exasperated and slightly passive aggressive woman that we cannot just look around, but that we have to do the 2 hour tour, something we didn't want to do, as it was too long. By this time the guide and older gentleman's attitude and tone was incredibly unprofessional. And do being told that we woul have to pay for this behavior, we opted on leaving. Upon doing so, the older gentleman came up to me and said in Afrikaans "Moenie Kaap toe kom as jy nie geld het nie." Don't come to Cape Town if you don't have money. This is quite possibly the rudest encounter I have ever had and it upsets me that these two individuals are representatives of our beautiful city. I love in Tamboerskloof you see. I would never recommend anyone going there if it would mean having to deal with these two individuals. I would recommend some sort of training that would teach them how to handle themselves in a more professional manner. Because this is embarrassing and probably not what the museum was intended for.

By Shirley Babineaux - Aug 31 2014

From the very friendly greeting by 'Pete' (a most warm and wonderful person!) to Christine, our narrator, it was a fantastic experience! We are Americans, on vacation with a couple of extra days, after our tour.

We were very impressed by the details of the fantastic procedure. We were both very aware of the news of the day, back in 1967 when it actually happened. At this time, I was traveling with a girlfriend in South Africa, and we were "wowed" by the re-creation of events! It brought it to life again, for us!

The two hours of the tour just flew by. The letters, artifacts, actual recreations and operating theaters certainly made it VERY real! We were thrilled to feel like we were really there when Dr. Christiaan Barnhard actually performed the groundbreaking operation on Louis Washkansky.

We were so glad to see that the exhibit gave proper respect and due credit to Denise Duvall and her family for the donated heart. Nowadays, everything is anonymous...and it seems so cold.

Thanks again for such a wonderful exhibit and re-creation of events from such a great time in medical history! And to top it off--your volunteer Pete (and his wife) gave us a ride in their own car back to The One and Only Hotel, after the exhibit was finished for us? How wonderful! We want to thank him and his wife very much!

Shirley Babineaux

By Shelley Finch - May 11 2011

This museum is actually known as The Heart of Cape Town Museum and the correct webpage address is