A tiny museum

Ashburton District is lucky to have a wealth of museums – from the relatively large Ashburton Museum, Aviation, Vintage Car, Lynn Woodworking and Plains Vintage Railway and Historical Museums, to the relatively small Staveley Museum, Mt Somers’ Foothills Museum, and Corwar Lodge near Barrhill. The Methven Heritage Centre includes several museum activities, including the New... Continue Reading →

The Namesake of Our Valetta

While the team at Ashburton Museum were working on Ashburton: Feels Like Home, our 2019 Spring exhibition, we became even more interested than usual in all the things that make this district feel special and familiar. Home is a big theme, and it was especially interesting trying to tease out the myriad sights, ideas, experiences... Continue Reading →

140 years of mayhem and mischief

Last year, the Ashburton Guardian celebrated 140 years of reporting. Among that coverage are many stories of mayhem and mischief, showing how nineteenth-century life in Ashburton and in Canterbury as a whole was not as mundane as one might think. Old Guardians are peppered with reports of stand-out incidents and occurrences, ranging from macabre to... Continue Reading →

End of the Line

When I was a very young child living in Ireland, I had an ungodly obsession with trains. I loved everything about them – there was just some elusive appeal that drew me to anything that slid on rails and went “choo-choo”. I loved my Thomas the Tank Engine toys so much that I used to... Continue Reading →

Papers on Canvas

One never knows what will be donated to Ashburton Museum and last year a rather large and old piece of canvas was brought in, which contained a number of seaman’s discharge papers and letters dating from the 1860s that once belonged to Robert William Shearman. The canvas and papers turned out to be an important... Continue Reading →

  One of our popular exhibitions from last year was Make, Do and Mend. It promoted the idea of recycling and reusing items in clever ways. Today these principles are part of a philosophy of reducing waste to save the planet. In the past, however, people made, mended or reused items because it made economic... Continue Reading →

Making sure objects are well looked after is something that the team at Ashburton Museum takes pride in, especially as the rich history of the district means that we have many thousands of objects that we look after and preserve. When visitors come in and ask to do family research you never quite know what... Continue Reading →

Many scientific practices or areas of study that were once considered progressive or novel are now considered pseudoscience and quackery - phrenology included. You may see phrenology head models and head charts occasionally in odd shops, making the notion of the practice seem a bit “hipster”, but phrenology was as dubious as it was intriguing.... Continue Reading →

Relaxing picnics and scrummy barbecues exude that special Kiwi summer feeling – no span of warm, sunny days is complete without a barbecue, or a picnic at least. Over the past couple of centuries outdoor eating has become a novel activity for many people, reserved for recreation or special occasions, alone or with company. As... Continue Reading →

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