The inspiration to form The South African Museums Association can be traced back to 1932. Following a survey of the status of Commonwealth museums in Africa by the Carnegie Trust, it was recommended that better cooperation and communication was needed between museums. A circular was sent out on 3 April 1935 to all museums and art galleries to garner support. During a meeting held in The Kimberley Public Library on 23 April 1936, SAMA was founded by 22 individuals representing 19 institutions.
One of the key recommendations at the first meeting was the establishment of a journal and thus, SAMAB was born, with the first edition in 1936. SAMAB is still published today and a full set is found in the SAMA Archive at UNISA. See below for the full list of SAMAB at UNISA and a scan of the first edition which details the formation of SAMA.
Over the years SAMA has constantly adapted to the needs of a changing society and encouraged the transformation of museums in South Africa.