The next stage of Auckland Museum’s transformation has begun


An eagerly awaited planned programme of capital works has kicked off this week at Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Dr David Gaimster, Auckland Museum’s Chief Executive says the works will transform the way Aucklanders and visitors experience their Museum.

“Last year was a watershed year for the Museum,” says Dr Gaimster. “We welcomed nearly one million visitors through our doors and reached further beyond our walls than ever before.”

 “Nearly 60,000 Aucklanders experienced Auckland Museum in their communities through our outreach programmes. We engaged with over 75,000 school children offsite, onsite and online. Our internationally acclaimed Pacific Collections Access programme welcomed five Pacific Island nations to share and record their knowledge of the taonga in our care”

“The Museum’s transformational Five-Year Strategic Plan acknowledges that as Auckland changes, the Museum must too. Adopted in 2017, this plan is our roadmap for how we will evolve to meet the needs of a growing, changing and increasingly diverse Auckland.”

This is the next step in our journey to offer a modern, world-class Museum experience that reflects the city’s aspiration to be modern, dynamic global city,” says Dr Gaimster.  

“More public space will be created, special exhibition space will be enlarged to accommodate international exhibitions, half the galleries will be refurbished and a hospitality hub will be delivered which encourages visitors to make the Museum a destination”

The transformations include:

  • A refreshed South Atrium entrance and foyer that will be a destination in its own right, a place to meet friends, enjoy a meal, browse through the store
    • A new café experience
    • A larger Museum Store with a curated retail experience inspired by Aotearoa, Tamaki Makaurau and the museum’s collections
    • A community space for performance

  • A dedicated education space
    • The Learning Base will be tailored to provide innovative learning experiences with new classrooms.
    • A welcoming space where school groups and visitors can gather and orientate themselves.

  • A new Special Exhibitions Hall enabling the Museum to bring major international exhibitions to Auckland

  • A new permanent gallery on the ground floor will for the first time take visitors through the story of an evolving Auckland with rich interactive content bringing our past, present and future to life.

Business as usual

“We are excited to be taking Aucklanders on this transformation journey with us and it’s definitely business as usual for us while construction work is going on. Our major galleries remain open for all visitors to experience and an exciting exhibition programme is planned for the period.”

New exhibitions and programming for the coming year will be announced soon and include:

Carried Away: Bags Unpacked: An exhibition of 150 bags, exploring the stories associated with their creation, and the people who made and used them.

Tupaia and the Endeavour – Voyage to Aotearoa: A highly interactive family exhibition telling the story of Captain James Cook’s first voyage to Aotearoa in 1769, with a focus on the enigmatic Tahitian Endeavour crew member, Tupaia.

“Our teams are focused on ensuring that any disruption for our visitors is minimised and we’ve communicated with schools, special access groups and tourism groups to advise them proactively of changes to entry and moving around the Museum.”

“We encourage people wishing to plan their visit to check our website for full information.”