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Auckland Museum Institute 150 Years

Auckland Museum Institute Minute Book

Auckland Museum Collection

How do you create a museum? The Institute's Minute Book from 150 years ago reveals the people and events that shaped the Auckland Museum and its vast collections.  

A group of forward-thinking Aucklanders formed the Institute and set themselves the goal of "promoting science and literature by means of a museum and library".

Look through a selection of the original meeting notes to learn about the Institute’s earliest members and their vision, which resulted in the Museum we enjoy today.


With Vision

6 November 1867

These portraits are of eight of the 24 visionary men who established the Auckland Philosophical Society, the forerunner to the Auckland Museum Institute.

Frederick Whitaker was the Institute’s first president; Thomas Kirk, the Museum’s first curator; Thomas Gillies, the Institute’s first secretary; and Frederick Hutton, a member of the Institute’s council.

The group’s first meeting on 6 November 1867 marks the beginning of a desire to give the people of Auckland a fully fledged museum.

Top left: Frederick Whitaker, Thomas Kirk, Thomas Bannatyne Gillies, and Frederick Wollaston Hutton. Auckland Museum Collection: PH-NEG-C17878, PH-RES-3240-001, PH-ALB-44; Alexander Turnbull Library: MNZ-0474-1/4-F. Bottom left: Charles Heaphy, David Bruce, James Tannock Mackelvie, and John Williamson. Auckland Museum Collection: PH-CNEG-C11864, PH-NEG-1025, PH-NEG-B8112, PH-RES-920-001

First Resolutions

6 November 1867

High on the agenda was how to fund the newly formed Institute. The committee set a yearly subscription for Auckland residents at 1 pound and 1 shilling – $127.11 in today’s money.

Today individual membership of the Institute costs just $50.

Auckland in 1859. Photographer Bruno Hamel, Auckland Museum Collection: PH-ALB-84-p2-1


To download the full Auckland Museum Institute Minute book, please click on the PDF links below:

Minute Book 6 November 1867 - 4 May 1868

  • Last updated on: 6 Nov 2017 | File Size: 30 MB

Minute Book 30 May 1868 - 5 December 1868

  • Last updated on: 6 Nov 2017 | File Size: 38 MB

Minute Book 5 January 1869 - 7 June 1869

  • Last updated on: 6 Nov 2017 | File Size: 44 MB

Minute Book 3 July 1869 - 18 December 1869

  • Last updated on: 6 Nov 2017 | File Size: 29 MB

Minute Book 16 February 1870 - 11 July 1870

  • Last updated on: 6 Nov 2017 | File Size: 33 MB

Minute Book August 1870 - 17 December 1870

  • Last updated on: 6 Nov 2017 | File Size: 32 MB

Minute Book 15 February 1871 - 31 July 1871

  • Last updated on: 6 Nov 2017 | File Size: 24 MB

Minute Book 26 August 1871 - 22 November 1871

  • Last updated on: 6 Nov 2017 | File Size: 26 MB

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