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.

1867

6 November 1867

With vision

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.

From 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 From 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

6 November 1867

First resolutions

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

6 November 1867

First resolutions (continued)

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

14 November 1867

A library too

There are currently 3000 journal and magazine titles in the library's extensive collection – which supports the encyclopaedic research interests of the Museum.

The seeds of this collection were planted when secretary Thomas Gillies was instructed to subscribe to seven magazines representing seven branches of science. These magazines included the two you can see here as well as Chemical News and Gardeners Chronicle.

Two of the magazines that formed the core of Auckland Museum Library’s collection of journals: Geological Magazine and The Annals and Magazine of Natural History. Auckland Museum Collection: QE1, QH1

1868