Martin Melck House
Martin Melck House is one of the oldest colonial homes in South Africa and is named after its first owner. Its history is intimately entwined with that of Cape Town itself.
In 1764 Martin Melck, a Prussian mercenary in the service of the Dutch East India company, retired and was granted the vacant lot adjoining the one on which the museum stands. A religious man and a Lutheran, he proposed the construction of a Lutheran Church, employing the renowned French architect Louise Thibault to design the parsonage. The German woodcarver Anton Anrieth was commissioned to ornament the fašade and the interior.
The resulting neo-classical styled building is one of the finest remaining specimens of old Cape Town domestic architecture. Martin Melck house stands together with the Lutheran Church and Kosterhuis, which houses the Netherlands Embassy, as a unique historical remnant on Strand Street in the centre of modern Cape Town.
The conversion of the building into the Gold of Africa Museum, which until recently exhibited a collection of African gold, has seen this historical monument take its place in the cultural fabric of the city and the country.
The exhibition on the life and times of Nelson Mandela now installed in the museum adds a new and dynamic chapter to Martin Melck House.