Out of the Box: Celebrating 21 years of the Maritime Museum

The first public day Hobson Wharf Maritime Museum 21/8/93 / Artist, John Nolan.

Out of the Box exhibitions showcase the treasures from the Bill Laxon Maritime Library that are not on permanent display in the Museum. Items are displayed in the Edmiston Gallery and include archives, diaries, manuscripts, rare books, ephemera and photographs.


3 August 2014 - 30 September 2014

From concept and design through to the opening day, the idea of a Maritime Museum for Auckland was first mooted in a submission to the Auckland Harbour Board in December 1980. The first submission was based on moving the Auckland Maritime Society collection from Auckland Museum to the Maritime Museum. However it would take another ten years before a site was confirmed, planning and approvals were obtained, and construction began.

In 1990 three sheds on Hobson Wharf became the inspiration for some of the original concept drawings and exhibition designs for the proposed new Auckland Maritime Museum.

Re-discovered in plan cabinets in October 2013 while cataloguing items from the Institutional Archives of the Museum, the concept drawings are now considered artworks and are being exhibited for the very first time.

Concept drawings for the both the external design and internal exhibitions of the Museum were submitted from several Auckland firms. On exhibit are a selection of drawings in different mediums that show ship chandlery arrangements, ship ornaments, ropes and ship models. External drawings include contrasting depictions of the concourse and wharf, with vessels berthed in the marina.

The Hobson Wharf Maritime Museum was opened by the Right Hon. Jim Bolger Prime Minister of New Zealand on 19 August 1993. The Museum opened its doors to the public on Saturday 21 August 1993. The drawing of the opening day shows the newly launched scow Ted Ashby awaiting her final fit out and installation of masts, along with a myriad of dressed vessels in the Museum marina for the occasion.