SA Rugby has confirmed that the Springbok Experience museum in Cape Town will close down at the end of March as a cost-saving measure.
In announcing the news on Friday, SA Rugby stated that there would be free entry to all visitors until the museum closes its doors on 31 March.
‘This has been a very painful decision to take, but we have had to bow to economic reality,’ SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux commented.
‘The museum achieved what we set out to do, by providing a world class experience for visitors, while telling for the first time the “hidden” story of black rugby to a national and global audience.
‘We have won accolades on an annual basis and have had 200 000 visitors in the past five years, who have been blown away both by the story we have told and the way it has been told.
‘But the economic landscape in which SA Rugby operates has changed significantly since we first planned the museum in 2012, and the expenses we were happy to bear as a brand-building exercise at that time, have now become a challenge for the business.
‘We have engaged with many stakeholders for many months on avenues by which this course may have been avoided, but ultimately we had no choice.’
The museum has earned TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence award in every year of its operation, and was shortlisted for the International Museum of the Year Award in the UK’s Museum & Heritage Awards in 2014.
Roux thanked the donors – including World Cup-winning captains John Smit and Francois Pienaar – who had loaned their match jerseys to the museum, as well as a host of enthusiasts and collectors, who had provided materials and artefacts to tell the story.
‘I would also like to thank the many enthusiasts and the simply curious from around the world who have visited us over the past five and a half years. This is a sad day for rugby in South Africa.’
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