We're transforming your Museum to provide new experiences.

Here you can find out what's going on and take a peek behind the scenes.

 

Every month, we'll post new content to share the latest changes to your Museum, as we move closer to completion. Come back to see the changes unfold.

March 2020

Searching for Sitters

Searching for Sitters

What happened to all those family photos you were made to pose for when you were a child? Did you ever suspect they could wind up in a museum?

The Tāmaki Herenga Waka: Stories of Auckland gallery opening later in 2020 will include several images produced by Belwood Studios, a well-known Auckland photography studio from the mid-20th century. The Belwood negative collection, some 6500 images, was donated to the Museum - the only problem is, we don't know who appears in the pictures!

That's where you come in. Think you can help us solve a mystery? Check out the whole story below, and take a look some of these incredible mid-century photographs, a snapshot of an era in Auckland history. You never know, you may see someone you know staring back!

Read more

What are your favourite Kiwi tunes?

What are your favourite Kiwi tunes?

Did you spend a lot of time rocking out to Kiwi tunes at The Kings Arms? Three awesome New Zealand songs will be featured in our new gallery in order to help us tell the story of this legendary Auckland pub and live music venue - and we want to know the tunes that meant the most to you!

Email us at haveyoursay@aucklandmuseum.com telling us in 100 words or less which song you would pick and why – it must be a song by a New Zealand artist who has played at The Kings Arms.

The songs (and a pretty cool object from The Kings Arms) will feature in our Tāmaki Herenga Waka: Stories of Auckland gallery, opening later in 2020.

Deadline for entries is 31 March 2020.

February 2020

Auckland’s fabulous Pride Festival has come to a close, and with its end, we can reflect on how far we’ve come and where we can go from here.

In our new Tāmaki Herenga Waka: Stories of Auckland gallery we will feature the history of Staircase, one of Auckland’s earliest gay clubs.

In this clip, Edward Cowley begins his transformation into the club’s drag hostess Buckwheat and shares his reflections on discovering Staircase and how it became a safe-space for Auckland’s wider Rainbow community in the early 1980s.

Visitors will be able to see more of Edward’s story in the full video featured in the gallery when it opens later this year. For now, here's a teaser.

 

Throughout Auckland's Pride Festival, the city was awash with rainbows.

Throughout Auckland's Pride Festival, the city was awash with rainbows.

These hue (or gourds) decorated with sequins from artist Reuben Paterson will be in our new Learning Base opening later in 2020. Hue have a long tradition in Māori society with smaller ones eaten and larger ones dried and hollowed to use for storage, as musical instruments and flotation devices for nets.

Reuben says that his vibrant, rainbow gourds are a perfect fit for Pride and the celebration of our Rainbow community.

“Rainbows make me think of whakataukī (proverbs) around the hue, and of whakapapa and these connections to our LGBTTQI+ community. I understand that hue are about patience and persistence. Our road to Pride today, has been like that of the hue – one who does not hurry, but everything about it is accomplished.”

The work continues


There's still so much going on behind the scenes of our Museum transformation, as we prepare our South Atrium for the incredible new experiences visitors have to look forward to later this year.

Check out the video below to see work carefully going on around our beautiful tanoa (or bowl) as we get ready to install brand new artworks and a special audiovisual experience in this space.

January 2020

Did you know that Aucklanders have been celebrating Auckland’s Anniversary on the water with a grand regatta since 1842? Take a peek behind the scenes and hear from the experts who are currently creating a working diorama model of a nineteenth century Auckland Anniversary Regatta.

Visitors to the Museum’s new Tāmaki Herenga Waka: Stories of Auckland gallery will be able to race the boats on the finished diorama when the gallery opens later this year.

 

Behind the scenes of Tāmaki Herenga Waka: Stories of Auckland

Behind the scenes of Tāmaki Herenga Waka: Stories of Auckland

Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland is a place full of hidden stories waiting to be uncovered. What is a family’s special connection with a local firestation? What’s it like growing up at the beach? What makes a beloved neighbourhood takeaways so legendary? What’s the inside scoop on where to find the best Pasifika shirts in the whole city?

Aucklanders from all across the region have been sharing their Auckland stories with us so visitors to our new gallery can learn more about living in this amazing city through the eyes and experiences of the people who live here.

Our team have been out and about filming locals in Beachhaven, Helensville, Orewa and Te Atatu as they share their personal stories of the communities they live in. 

Their stories will feature in our Tāmaki Herenga Waka: Stories of Auckland opening at Auckland Museum later in 2020.

Where have we been shooting lately?

December 2019

Wondering what's been going on behind the scenes? Join our Head of Major Works Chris Smith as he takes you through the huge changes underway as we construct our new South Atrium entrance and foyer - the challenges, the surprises, and the exciting things to come!

 

October 2019

This timelapse video shows demolition of the existing stairwell to make way for the new vision of the South Atrium.

 

September 2019

New gallery to feature Aucklanders selfies

New gallery to feature Aucklanders selfies

Selfies aren’t usually found in museums but as part of our transformation we’ve been out collecting 1,000 selfies from Aucklanders out and about in the city to add to our permanent photography collection and to the new Tāmaki Herenga Waka: Stories of Auckland permanent gallery. Find out more here.

New Tāmaki Stories Gallery to feature items belonging to one of Auckland’s first Chinese families

New Tāmaki Stories Gallery to feature items belonging to one of Auckland’s first Chinese families

These gardening tools, ginger jars, condiment dishes, chopsticks, fan-tan, counters and coins belonged to the Ah Chee family, one of the first Chinese families in Auckland, who lived and worked on a market garden at the foot of Auckland Domain from 1882 to 1919. Chan Dah Chee was a well-known Auckland businessman, who opened a number of greengrocer stores and ran several dining rooms in central Auckland.

These objects will feature in our new Tāmaki Stories gallery which opens in 2020. The new gallery will share the diverse stories of the people and place that is Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland, encouraging visitors to explore their Tāmaki.

August 2019

Polar bear on the move

Polar bear on the move

More than 100 years old, this 'exotic' taxidermy display was purchased from London in 1906 and brought back to Auckland Museum. It quickly became a favourite of many Museum visitors as the animals, a polar bear (Ursus Maritimus) and three musk oxen (Ovibos Moschatus), had never been seen before in New Zealand.

Known as the ‘Arctic Group’ it has been on almost continuous display for over a century. However, if you visit the Museum today, you won’t see this special taxidermy group in its usual spot, as the Museum undergoes transformations.

To see some unique behind the scenes shots and find out what goes into moving such a large and ancient display, read on.

July 2019

How do we move precious taonga?

How do we move precious taonga?

Our collection of Māori Kakahu (clothes) is among our most precious taonga. It consists of more than 300 beautiful cloaks dating back centuries, as well as many other treasured items. As part of our building transformation works they need to be moved to a new resting place. Moving these delicate, treasured cloaks is a major task requiring our utmost care. Find out more here.

June 2019

Special Exhibition Hall Opened

Special Exhibition Hall Opened

Our new, world-class Special Exhibition Hall was opened in June, with exhibition Carried Away: Bags Unpacked being the first exhibition to be held in this revamped space, followerd by Voyage to Aotearoa: Tupaia and the Endeavour. This new exhibition space will also host major touring international exhibitions.

May 2019

Southern Pathway completed

Southern Pathway completed

Te Ara Oranga, our New Southern Pathway, was opened in the Domain. The pathway provides, for the first time, a fully safe and accessible route for pedestrians, prams and wheelchairs from Parnell Road to the Auckland Museum and the wider Domain. Find out more about the name Te Ara Oranga here.

April 2019

Construction and vibrations

Construction and vibrations

There is no such thing as a good vibration within a museum. With the major construction works that are currently underway at Auckland Museum, we have installed a special vibration monitor to keep an eye on things. Take a look behind the scenes and find out more about how this helps to protect our precious collections, exhibitions and objects as we make exciting changes to our building.

Work in Progress

Auckland Museum is transforming!  In 2020, as part of our Five-Year Strategic Plan, we will reveal new galleries and public spaces that will mean exciting new experiences for all our visitors. We will also be making it easier to get around our heritage building and adding more public space to showcase more of our collections.

A new South Atrium

A new South Atrium

More than just a gateway to our galleries and exhibitions, the new South Atrium will be a vibrant visitor arrival and orientation area, as well as a destination in its own right.

It will be a place to meet friends, take in a community performance, enjoy a meal in our new café, or browse in a curated retail experience inspired by Aotearoa, Tāmaki Makaurau and the Museum’s collections.

Improved ways to get around

Improved ways to get around

Once inside, new walkways on each side of the ground floor will provide direct access from the South Atrium in the south, to Māori Court in the north and vice versa. 

As well as providing more intuitive ways to move around the building, the walkways will also open up more space to showcase more of the collections.
 

A new Tāmaki Stories Gallery

A new Tāmaki Stories Gallery

On the ground floor, this permanent gallery will for first time takes visitors through the stories of an evolving Auckland with rich interactive content bringing our past, present and future to life.

This immersive experience will be a place where Aucklanders can see themselves reflected and visitors leave with a deep insight into Auckland’s unique history and exciting future.

 A new Learning Base

A new Learning Base

On level one we are currently building a new Learning Base. It will be a dedicated education space to provide innovative learning experiences with new workspaces that will help us to reach 100,000 schoolchildren annually by 2022/2023.

It will also be a welcoming space where school groups and visitors can gather and orientate themselves.

A place for remembering

A place for remembering

Pou Maumahara Memorial Discovery Centre opened in 2016, and more recently Pou Kanohi New Zealand at War opened. With its heritage features restored, this gallery is a place for people to learn about New Zealand’s unique story of the First World War and why, more than 100 years later, it still matters.

Both galleries have been funded by a significant Lotteries Grant, and reflect the importance of our WWI 100 commemoration programme. 

 

Beyond 2020

 

These exciting new experiences are only the beginning.  We will continue to revitalise our galleries to transform the way communities and visitors interact with our collections, including a new Environmental and Human Impacts Gallery to explore issues of environmental change and how we interact with the natural world.