The Observatory Museum building was originally a 19th-century jeweller shop and family home. It is renowned for the identification of the Eureka, the first authenticated diamond in South Africa in 1867.
The multi-storied structure houses a number of exhibits, one of which focuses on Dr William G. Atherstone and the other main participants who identified the first diamond here. The owner and designer of the building, watchmaker Henry Carter Galpin, lived in the town until his death in 1886. He was a successful businessman who also managed to find time to explore interests such as natural history, music, practical mechanics and astronomy, and one can find many of these exhibits on show.
Some of the Observatory’s more unusual features include a Meridian Room where astronomical time, GMT (Grahamstown’s mean time), could be calculated, as well as a Camera Obscura which is the only one built in the country. The Observatory has a 360-degree view of the city.