The Heritage Day public holiday on 24 September gives museums, archives and other organisations involved with the preservation of heritage, the opportunity to highlight and celebrate an aspect of heritage. The Alan Paton Centre (APC) and Pietermaritzburg Archives Repository (PAR) started celebrating Heritage Day in 1997 by holding annual Heritage Day Seminars. In 2000, the Msunduzi Heritage Forum was formed, involving most of the museums and archives in Pietermaritzburg. The Alan Paton Centre Heritage Day celebrations then became part of the Msunduzi Heritage Forum’s Heritage Week.
In 2005, the decision was made to celebrate the contribution of Peter Brown to the struggle against apartheid, by re-naming the Alan Paton Centre’s Heritage Day Seminar the Peter Brown Memorial Seminar. Peter Brown was a friend of Alan Paton, a co-leader of the Liberal Party, a founder of the Association for Rural Advancement (AFRA) and was very instrumental in the setting up of the Alan Paton Centre.