PHILIPPOLIS MUSEUM AND LIBRARY
Philippolis is a picturesque town, with numerous unique and attractive building dating to the 19th century. The library and museum in Kok Street, are particularly fine examples of architecture dating to this period. Both the library and the museum have been added to over the years. The library has undergone substantial changes on the inside, to accommodate its functions whilst externally the building was restored to its original condition a number of years ago. On the inside, the museum has been converted to a house museum and the interior is in a good condition. Both buildings suffered from a lack of maintenance externally, and the wooden fretwork had decayed seriously. Generally, wooden fretwork does not last long in the harsh climate conditions of the Free State. Where possible, existing woodwork was retained, but in our opinion, most of the bargeboards, fretwork, railings etc. had to be replaced.
Roof leaks were attended to, walls repainted with a suitable paint, doors and windows sanded and repainted.
Internally, the museum was retained as is, with the changes entailing making new openings in walls between rooms to accommodate a slightly elevated walkway. The reason for this proposal was that the existing doors were approximately 1.6 or 1.7 meters high, and there were uncomfortable level differences at the various thresholds between the rooms. This created a dangerous situation for visitors. In order to retain the floor levels, as well as the door openings, neutral openings in some of the walls were formed to allow visitors to move along a walkway between the various exhibits. A set of toilets that were added at some later stage were also removed and new toilets created in the outbuildings, including facilities for disabled visitors.
The inside of the library was also altered, so that the librarian would be placed in a more central location with better supervision over the bookshelves. In order to ensure better security, existing door openings leading off the main entry passage were retained, but secured with clear sheets of glass that would allow views into the room but no access. Furthermore, a ramp for disabled visitors was added on the north side of the library, as well as a small enclosed story-telling area for children.
In general, it was proposed that the backyards of both the museum and the library be connected and joined with the open erf to the north of the library which gives access to the hillock with the canons. The outbuildings of the library were converted to accommodate a small coffee shop. This arrangement will allow tourists to visit the museum and the library, as well as the open space with the canons. It is also proposed that a set of steps be made of wood, to access the top of the hill.
The additional work to the open space and the hill were discussed with the Local Authority as these changes were proposed on council land.