North Otago Museum

The North Otago Museum tells the stories of the natural and cultural history of the Waitaki District.

The Museum has a history dating back to 1863 with the establishment of a committee to collect ‘district material’ for the Great Colonial Exhibition of 1865 in Dunedin. Further serious collecting didn’t occur again until 1882 when local architect and engineer Thomas Forrester was appointed Curator of the Museum of the Oamaru Mechanic’s Institute. (The Mechanic’s Institute originally formed in 1864).

The Museum’s fortunes fluctuated over the following years. In 1951 George Meek’s collection of ‘colonial exhibits’ formed the basis of the Pioneer Gallery in the Old Oamaru Courthouse and in 1975 the Museum opened on its current site (the 1882 Athenaeum building).

To find out more about the history of the Museum, go to our Blog pages.

Cultural Facilities Development Project
In 2019 a new cultural facility will open its doors to the community and visitors to our district. The existing Forrester Gallery at 9 Thames Street will be upgraded and an adjoining building constructed to house the Gallery, Museum and Archive. To prepare for this project the Museum has closed its permanent display space so it can work on its Collections and top Themes and Stories. To find out more about the Project and for opportunities to get involved visit this website.

The North Otago Museum is funded by the Waitaki District Council. Admission is free. Gallery fees and charges can be found here.