Council's new Art Gallery and Heritage Centre on West Street is home to Ashburton Art Gallery, the Ashburton Museum, and the Ashburton Family History Group. The first-class facility also houses Ashburton District Council's archives, along with a large and growing community archive collection.
The Centre is very much a partnership project with all organisations working together to provide the district with an integrated culture and heritage facility offering a full range of exhibitions and services.
The new Art Gallery and Heritage Centre enables proper care and display of our district's history and culture and caters for current and future generation requirements.
By preserving the district's archives, we are providing our community with a greater understanding of our heritage.
Features included in the Art Gallery and Heritage Centre are:
- A new and interesting museum exhibition designed by one of NZ's most experienced designers in this sector,
- Climate-controlled museum and archive storage and conservation facilities
- Ashburton Family History Group and its research material
- Art Gallery exhibition space including new sound and light gallery for showing multi-media exhibitions
- Climate-controlled art storage and conservation facilities
- Multi-use dedicated education space
History with heart
Ashburton Museum is a community museum dedicated to preserving and making available for research and study, the history and heritage of Ashburton District. The museum holds a large collection of historical records and photographs related to the wider district.
The museum's exhibition hall features a permanent exhibition depicting the development of Ashburton District from pre-human to recent times. It has sections devoted to natural history, Takata Whenua, early settlement, civic affairs, church, education and health, as well as industry and farming.
Of particular interest are the portrait wall with photos and biographies of more than 100 former Ashburton residents, and a special display featuring the story of irrigation, a topic that is of particular importance to the district.
The Museum also holds temporary specialist exhibitions and events that run for a limited time. Check out thier Facebook page for most recent news and exhibition updates.
The major components of the Ashburton Museum's collections are:
Objects: The large object collection contains many items ranging from toys and furniture to industrial equipment. Significant items include a collection of war medals earned by an Ashburton District nurse, Emily Peter, during the Boer War and First World War, and a dress uniform from the New Zealand land wars.
Of special interest is the Wakanui collection which comprises early moa hunter artefacts, found at a historic camping and fishing site at Wakanui Beach. This collection is recognised as being of extremely high regional and national significance, being one of the very few finds relating to this period of New Zealand's pre-European history.
Archives: The museum's community archive holds an extensive collection of historical records related to
Ashburton District including local authority, farming, business, club, family, school and church material from 1858
to recent times.
The archives collection is available for research, with the help of the museum's archivist, in the research room from 1pm to 4pm on weekdays. In some circumstances fees may apply for this work.
Also available on microfilm are many of Ashburton's early newspapers, including the Ashburton Mail, the Evening Echo, the Ashburton Herald and the Ashburton Guardian from 1878 to the present day.
The museum is also to become home to the heritage archives portion of the Ashburton District Council archives. This material is currently being moved from the council building to the care of the museum and will eventually be available for research.
Illustrations: The illustrations collection contains more than 5000 photographic prints dating from the 1870s to the present day, all related to the Ashburton District.
There are also two major collections of negatives: the Binsted collection (1958-1980) from a local commercial photographer containing more than three million frames, and the Ashburton Guardian Collection (1974-2004) of newspaper photographs, again with more than three million frames.
Other collections include some negatives from commercial photographer Charles Tindall and most photos taken by the Courier newspaper up until 2004.
Heritage Education: Included in the Heritage Centre is the Learning Centre, a classroom able to be used by school groups. Two specialist heritage educators, based at South Canterbury Museum, are available free of charge to schools and items from the museum's collections can be made available for use by visiting school groups. Schools should contact the Ashburton Museum for information and to make bookings.
Open Hours – daily 10am – 4pm.
(Closed statutory holidays)
Contact the Ashburton Museum:
Phone: (03) 3077 890
P.O. Box 94, Ashburton 7740
How Council contributes
The Ashburton Museum is a department of the Ashburton District Council.
Ashburton Art Gallery
Ashburton Art Gallery is an exciting and innovative regional public art gallery and a source of pride to the local community. The Gallery aims to present a varied, thought provoking, and innovative programme of locally, nationally and internationally sourced exhibitions.
The gallery's permanent collection represents the creative spirit of Ashburton District through the works of regionally significant artists such as Kath Von Tunzelmann and Michael Armstrong, while also containing an array of works by significant New Zealand artists such as Philip Trusttum, Nigel Brown, Philip Clairmont, and Rudolf Gopas.
David Elliot collection
At the heart of the collection is the works of internationally celebrated, Ashburton-born children's book author and illustrator David Elliot. As the institutional caretaker of Elliot's vast collection, the Gallery has gained a notable point of difference.
Included are drawings from award winning books The Making of the Word Witch (a collaboration with the late Margaret Mahy), The Moon and Farmer McPhee and Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark.
Contact the Ashburton Art Gallery:
Gallery Manager/Curator: Shirin Khosraviani
Phone: (03) 308 1133
How Council contributes
Council provides annual grant funding that provides the majority of the Ashburton Art Gallery's operating expenditure.