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The museum was founded in 1825 but was small in scale. A new purpose-built institution was opened in 1896 where the first Egyptian objects from Britain were installed before World War One. In the early 1960s a Social History Museum was established in the old Slave Lodge and Supreme Court building which became a separate institution dealing in exotic cultures, including the Egyptian collection, and the artefacts of whites at the Cape. It was known as the South African Cultural History Museum (SACHM). Today it examines the role of slavery and lives of slaves, but has been reunited with the main South African Museum through the Iziko organisation which administers many of Cape Town's museums and historic houses. The Egyptian collection is still housed in the Slave Lodge.
According to the Minutes of the EEF Committee for 7 June 1898 a letter was read from the Curator of the Cape Town Museum requesting antiquities. It is not clear if any were sent that year.
Boshoff, Anlen and Izak Cornelius 2002. The Egyptian collection in Iziko Museums of Cape Town, South Africa. In Eldamaty, Mamdouh and May Trad (eds), Egyptian museum collections around the world 1, 133-142. Kairo: Supreme Council of Antiquities.