About Marlborough Museum

Marlborough Museum

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Marlborough Museum is in Brayshaw Heritage Park, surrounded by all things heritage! The Museum is known for its Wine Exhibition, Te Pokohiwi 1250 A.D. (Wairau Boulder Bank archaeology exhibiton), including the famous Jim Eyles Collection. Marlborough history (Captain James Cook, whaling, goldmining and natural history), Victorian Rooms and the remarkable pottery collections of Elizabeth Lissaman, and Fran Maguire are also highlights!

The Museum celebrates an inspiring collection of items which tell the story of Marlborough. Open everyday 10 - 4, closed Christmas Day. Marlborough Archives are part of the Museum complex open 10 - 4 Tuesdays and Thursdays, other times by appointment.

Step outside, into the rest of Brayshaw Heritage Park, and be inspired by vintage cars, vintage machinery, and of course Beaverton, our replica street scene.

The Marlborough Museum Ambassador is Marlborough Champion, businesswoman, and journalist, Toni Gillan.

To find out about supporting the Museum click on the Support Us tab on the home page.

Marlborough Archives Summer Research Hours

The last day for the Marlborough Archives Research Room to be open is Thursday 26 November 2020.  We are planning to re-open on Tuesday 2 February 2021. 

The current year has been demanding due to COVID 19 and we have many projects which need to be followed up behind the scenes.  We know that many researchers rely on our services and we will try and assist with urgent requests.

We will have limited services available by appointment.  We will schedule these as soon as we can, but please be advised that we will have limited resources to assist until February. 

Our small team is made up of dedicated staff who always endeavour to do their best, but please help us by being patient, and plan ahead, so that we can help you as best as we can. 

Please be advised that enquiries by email will be the easiest way that we can help you.

Archives Brochure (pdf 115Kb)


Steve Austin, Executive Director

Steve joined the Museum in 2006 to lead the Museum into its next phase of development. He graduated in Art History, Music and Classical History. He has a First Class Honours degree in History. He is a qualified teacher, and also holds the National Certificate in Museum Practice.

After lecturing at Christchurch College of Education for ten years, Steve worked in Wellington at the City Gallery (Education Assistant) before moving to The Dowse (Host Team Leader), followed by three years at The Nelson Provincial Museum, (Manager of Programmes and Curatorial Services).

Steve has written a number of articles on Marlborough heritage that are now available on The Prow website, and assisted with the Marlborough entry in "Te Ara", the on-line Encyclopedia of New Zealand. His most recent published work on Blenheim carver and furniture maker William Ah Gee can be found in the widely acclaimed "The Lives of Colonial Objects", Otago University Press, 2015. He is currently researching the history of early Blenheim, and completed a publication about the life and work of Elizabeth Lissaman , (New Zealand's first Studio potter), with Jane Vial (2018).

As well as the first museum professional employed as such in Marlborough, Steve is a founder of the Marlborough Living Cultural Treasure Award, with Toni Gillan; founder of the Marlborough Wine Show Legacy Award with Belinda Jackson and Margaret Cresswell; as well as the founder of the annual Marlborough Heritage Festival.

As part of the 1842 founding families of Nelson, his family's connections in Marlborough go back to before the separation of Nelson and Marlborough in 1859. Notably his great-great-grand father's 1860 steam engine is in Brayshaw Park, with the Marlborough Vintage Farm Machinery Society. His great-uncle, grand-father, and father worked on the Molesworth, and in surrounding areas.

Steve is currently working on a number of research projects in his precious spare time. The first is on early Chinese settlers in New Zealand. His other project is on New Zealand photographer Thelma Kent, who was active in the 1930s. Steve is also an accomplished classical musician, artist, and horticulturalist.
Steve Austin on


Logan Coote, Regional Collections Manager

As Marlborough Regional Collections Manager my role is to support the development of collections in Marlborough museums. An important part of my job is liaising with iwi groups about taonga, and assisting with access to collections.

I have a Master’s degree in Anthropology from Otago University which I completed in 2007, specialising in Archaeology. My background includes: Museum volunteering after graduation; Collections Curator at Whakatane Museum; Archaeologist at Pegasus Town; Contract Archaeologist in Kaikoura; extensive background in helping collectors develop significant collections.

I grew up visiting the family farm on D’Urville Island from a young age, and this is how I started learning about geology, archaeology, natural history, and history. My current research interests are related to the French Pass and D’Urville Island districts, the geology of the Nelson/Marlborough Mineral Belt, and understanding particular types of taonga, and stone tools in particular.

I became interested in taonga through my family connections, exploration of pakohe - argillite on D’Urville Island, and learning from going on excursions with Jim Eyles when I was young. My personal interests in this area are the Early East Polynesians exploring and settling NZ, Maori stone working, and first contact interaction between 1769 - 1840. Other specialties include: New Zealand fossils, and the postal history of the Marlborough Sounds. 

Museum staff are not scary! So, you are welcome to pop by for a chat, may be best to ring first to make sure I’m not out of the office.

Jillian Trayling, Support Manager and Marlborough Museums Registrar

Jillian Trayling joined the Marlborough Museum Team in 2011.  She has been recently appointed by the Marlborough Heritage Trust as their Secretary and the Support Manager for all operations. In addition to these roles she is the Museums Registrar which involves responsibility for the Collections database.  Before joining Marlborough Museum Jillian had a wide range of professional experiences that included legal secretary, office manager, and swimming instructor.


Mark Mason, Marlborough Lines Heritage Education  Programme Manager

Mark has been a teacher of Geography, Social Studies, Tourism and History with a bit of English and Physical Education (plus Religious Studies in the United Kingdom) thrown in as well for good measure, for twenty years.  He has taught in Auckland, Blenheim and in three locations in the United Kingdom (Colchester, London and Ardingly).  His main teaching area (and passion) has been Geography and especially getting pupils into the field to experience the geography they learn in the class.  Mark, being a born and raised Marlburian of an old Marlborough family maternally, has always had a strong interest in local history and events.

He particularly enjoys bringing (or attempting to bring) the subject he is teaching to life and fully engaging the pupils in the learning opportunity.  Consequently, he relishes developing the relationship with the pupil.

Mark has a strong interest in sport, particularly cricket and rugby, both of which he has coached to under-age representative level.

John Orchard, Marlborough Heritage Education 

John has been the Senior Teacher of the Heritage Education Programme for twenty years, following 25 years as a History, Geography, Mathematics and Outdoor Pursuits teacher in Christchurch, Oamaru, and Blenheim.  John was one of the driving forces behind setting up the LEOTC programme in Blenheim in the late 90s, alongside the late John Davies.  He has been the face of the programme since 2000 and has developed the programme to what it is today.  He has an absolute passion for Heritage Education and a strong belief in pupils knowing their local history and local geography. 

He feels privileged to have a job involving many of his interests. These include running field trips for the Marlborough Historical Society and HPT, restoration of historic earth buildings, photographic archives, sea kayaking, archaeology, Marlborough, and military history, and building projects.

John has also been President of the progressive Riverside Railway project since its formation in the mid 80s.

He was awarded a QSM for services to the community, and has also been honoured twice by Marlborough District Council for services to heritage in Marlborough.



Beavertown is a replica street scene based on features of Blenheim around 1900.

"The Beaver", and "Beaver Station" were early names for what is now the town of Blenheim.



Riverlands Cob Cottage


Cob Cottage is the most visited historic building in Marlborough.

It is a good example of how early Marlburians constructed dwellings in a region without a close supply of timber. 

We have just completed the restoration of the walls, and chimneys, following the Seddon earthquakes. Visitors will be able to view the cottage from the outside, once the site is re-opened from 1 December 2016.

Cob Cottage Booklet (pdf)