Heart Museum in Groote Schuur Hospital

The Heart Museum in Cape Town opened on December 3, 2007, with the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the first heart transplant by Christiaan Barnard.

The museum is housed in the oldest part of the Groote Schuur Hospital, in the very operating room where that momentous surgery took place. The museum offers a reconstruction of Barnard’s life, of the incredible media impact caused by the first heart transplant in the world and in particular of the surprise resulting from the fact that this transplant was performed in an African country as well as of human events that accompanied the first transplants. In fact, the museum contains many photographs of the main characters of that story, numerous front pages by the world press with headlines dedicated to that event, a reconstruction of the operating room (at the original site) with the equipments used by Barnard and colleagues, a reconstruction of the Barnard’s office, of the bedroom of the heart donor (a girl who died due to a car accident) and the admission room of the first heart recipient.

More information on the Museum's official website


A plaque in memory of the heart donor for transplant:

"In memory of
and her father
his courageous decision
to donate his daughter's
heart resulted in the
world's first human
heart transplant
on 3 december 1967
at Groote Schuur Hospital"

  • Photos by Alessio Giuseppe Morganti

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