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Auckland Museum is temporarily closed

Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum is closed to the public for four weeks in step with our county’s efforts to limit the transmission of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. Find out more

Auckland Museum Institute

Founder of the Institute, Sir Frederick Whitaker

Unknown photographer. (ca. 1889) T.B. Gillies. Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tamaki Paenga Hira. PH-ALB-44:23.

The Auckland Museum Institute, established in 1867, is the Museum's membership body. The Institute organises a programme of lectures, field trips and other events, and appoints four members to the Museum Trust Board. It is the Auckland Branch of the Royal Society of New Zealand, providing members' and the public access to both local and international lectures.

Founder of the Institute, Thomas Bannatyne Gillies

Unknown photographer. (ca. 1889) T.B. Gillies. Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tamaki Paenga Hira. PH-ALB-44:23.

The Auckland Philosophical Society was founded by Captain Frederick Wollaston Hutton and Thomas Bannatyne Gillies, and in 1867 they formed a learned group dedicated to the advancement of knowledge. Some months later in early 1868 this group renamed itself the Auckland Institute and was formally incorporated with the New Zealand Institute. From this point on the Auckland Institute took a responsible interest in Auckland Museum. Thomas Cheeseman later referred to the Institute in this phase of its existence as 'a wanderer without a settled home' with a 'handful of books and a rudimentary museum'.

The first minutes of the Auckland Philosophical Society set out the purpose they desired to achieve.

“The object of the Society shall by promotion of art, science and literature by means of a museum and library, lectures and meetings of members, at which original papers may be read, and conversations and discussions take place, on literary and scientific subjects or otherwise as may from time to time be determined by the Council to be elected as hereinafter mentioned.”

The Institute today under the 1996 AWMM Act in essence remains true to its original purpose defined now as;

‘The Institute is the membership body for Auckland Museum and a facilitator of lifelong learning and knowledge sharing, engaging audiences through premium lecture programmes and events, in support of the Museum and its endeavours.’