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Auckland Museum Institute 150 Years - 1870

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.


A wanderer without a settled home

10 September 1870

A wanderer without a settled home

The building you’re standing in today was not the first home of the Museum. The collection had travelled from a labourer’s cottage on Grafton Road to a room in a government building on Princes St.

One more move saw the Museum housed in the ‘mean and uninviting’ old post office building on Princes St – pictured here. The Institute finally shared premises with the Museum almost a year after they had become one organisation.

The first shared premises of the Auckland Institute and Museum in the old post office building, circa 1870. Auckland Museum Collection: PH-NEG-C8215