The Museum has extensive collections which have been built up over half a century. Access to the collections has become much easier with the increasing amount of collection information available on line. This is easily accessed from our home page, and you can let us know if you would like to be updated as more material is added throughout the year.
We are recognised as a Regional Repository under the Archives Act.
Our collections are accessible through our Archives services. A large proportion of requests are now handled through email. The Archives are open for public research on Tuesdays and Thursdays 10-4, excluding public holidays.
Archives Brochure (pdf, 115kb)
The Museum has extensive collections of photographs relating to the places and people of Marlborough. Many of these are currently being placed into acid free enclosures and acid free boxes.
Our collections online include a focus on photographers of Marlborough, imgaes by these photographers can be accessed through our home page.
Our textiles collection is considered to be quite large for a regional museum. The implementation of safe storage of collection, items using acid free boxes, is well underway. The nineteenth century dresses have been a mahjor priority in recent years.
As each item is being re-housed we are upgrading the collection data, with digital photographs, for each item.
Textiles are among the most fragile items that museums collect. They are often well-worn, and they can easily have suffered damage from excessive light, stains, and insect damage, before they are donated to the museum for safe storage at the very end of their life.
We try and highlight aspects of the collection through several temporary exhibitions each year.
General collections include many unique objects from early bicycles to furniture, and archaeological material. We have a big job ahead of us to review the storage spaces for them in the coming years.
There are many gems in this collection, and there is still along way to go before we have completely upgraded our database to include images and storage location details for all items.
Over the years documentation standards have improved. Unfortunately, the earliest donations sometimes have the least documentation.
Marlborough has the earliest known site of human habitation in New Zealand (Wairau Bar, 1250 AD). Items relating to this site are a highlight of the collection.
What do we collect?
The museum collects material that relates to the natural and social history of Marlborough. We are currently making a strong effort to focus on donations that have a unique association with Marlborough. We are extremely interested in objects and documents relating to the wine heritage of the Marlborough Province.
Our collection storage areas are extensive, and current storage conditions are being reviewed with collection management experts from a range of institutions around the country.
With limited professional advice in the past, the accumulated collections need to be reviewed over the next few years so that improvements in data management, finding aids, organisation, and safe storage can be made.
Please contact us if you wish to donate items to the museum, to ensure that museum staff can meet you, and set aside the time needed. Generally, a little advance notice, and preparation on both sides, ensures that the process goes smoothly. We do need to document the material carefully as it comes in, so that we can record it's true significance. This usually takes between ten and thirty minutes, but larger amounts of material can, of course, take longer. Unfortunately it is no longer a case of just dropping things off at reception!
In the case of photographs, for example, the name and approximate date of what has been photographed can be recorded by the donor on a piece of paper and brought in with the images.
The best thing to do is call us in advance and make an appointment. This will speed up the formal processes when you get here.
The generosity of donors over the last fifty years has ensured that the collections of Marlborough Museum are rich and varied, allowing fascinating insights into local and New Zealand heritage.
Our goal is to bring you as much of this as possible, in exciting and different ways, for many years to come!