The museum underwent a major restoration and restructuring project in 2008 and was then closed for a year to source original fabrics to match the authentic structure of the space: to construct a new Visitor Centre and see to the installation of exhibitions that display a visual storytelling element. Extensive research and curation was done to convey all the elements and mimic the general space of the house. On 19 March, 2009, it was re-opened to showcase the changes in welcoming visitors, and creating a better tourist experience.
Built in 1945, Mandela house was commissioned as part of a Johannesburg City tender for new houses in Orlando. Whilst tiny in structure, its testimony of the family’s struggles for a free South Africa is large.
The house was ready in 1946 to receive Mandela who moved in with his first wife Evelyn Ntoko Mase. Later with a divorce finalized in 1957, Mandela welcomed his second wife, Winnie Madikizela Mandela into residence. In 1999, the house was awarded the status of a public heritage site, with Nelson Mandela as the Founder Trustee.