Past exhibitions

People braved the cold winter night watching the Lyttelton Museum had a slideshow at the Festival of Lights 2013.

2013 was the start of the museum's re-engagement with the community since the loss of a permanent exhibition space. Our first re-engagment with the community was the Festival of Lights slideshow. We hope that this will become a tradition and that we continue to find opportunities to display our collection to the community in ways that are new to us.

The following exhibitions are no longer available for viewing. If you missed any of the exhibitions, have a look around this page.  

The Women of Lyttelton Gaol

Lyttelton Gaol from the corner of Oxford and Winchester Streets, about 1900, Palliser family collection, Canterbury Museum, 1991.345.3

Lyttelton Gaol from the corner of Oxford and Winchester Streets, about 1900, Palliser family collection, Canterbury Museum, 1991.345.3

From the mid-1860s until 1913, more than 800 women were imprisoned at Lyttelton Gaol. This project uncovered who those women were, where they came from, and what crimes they committed.

Visit the online exhibition to find out more.

An original soundscape had also been created as part of the project. It played half hourly on the Gaol site for the 2018-19 summer, which is the rose garden beside the Charles Upham Memorial Clock above Oxford Street.

When Death Jumped Ship

Exhib tile for FB 2.png

Lyttelton Museum, working with Lyttelton Library, created the exhibition When Death Jumped Ship to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1918 world-wide influenza pandemic. When Death Jumped Ship first opened at the Lyttelton Library for Beca Heritage Week 12-27 October 2018.  The exhibition travelled to different Library locations throughout the city returning home in early January 2019.

Read more on this exhibition here.

Ka Awatea - the time of awakening 

June - December 2018

An activation project on the Lyttelton Museum site by Sarah Amazinnia and Holly Cunningham, supported by Lyttelton Museum and Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke, Project Lytelton, Structex, Lyttelton Engineering, Jon Mitchell from Cable Systems, The Air Force Museum of New Zealand, the site's awesome neighbours and some great Lyttelton folk. Funded through the CCC Enliven Places Project Fund and Creative Communities.

This project was designed to warm and welcome people to the Museum site and gain some excitement for the new Museum build. In June 2018 the project opened with lit installations and a projection for the Lyttelton Festival of Lights. 

In September, The Miniature Gallery arrived onsite with a series of 3 exhibitions from September - December showing work from 34 artists connected to Whakaraupō Lyttelton Harbour. Each Full Moon opening celebration featured local musicians and kai from Rāpaki marae catering for around 100 people. 

All work in the gallery was inspired by objects from the Lyttelton Museum Collection.


Lyttelton by Rail

Beca Heritage Week 13–23 October 2017 at Lyttelton Library

Lyttelton Museum, working with Lyttelton Library, created the exhibition Lyttelton by Rail to mark the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Lyttelton Rail Tunnel.

Read more on this exhibition here.



A Place Apart postcard

A Place Apart postcard

A Place Apart – Life in the Ōtamahua Quail Island Leper Colony

October 2016, Lyttelton Harbour Information Centre, 20 Oxford Street

In association with BECA Heritage Week, Lyttelton Museum presented A Place Apart, an exhibition of photographs looking at life in Aotearoa New Zealand’s only leper colony on Ōtamahua Quail Island.

See an abbreviated version of the exhibition here.

St Saviour’s at Holy Trinity – an Anglican church once more for Lyttelton

June 2015

St Saviour’s Church, originally of West Lyttelton, has had an unusually mobile life. It is now back in it's home town on the site of the former Church of the Most Holy Trinity, which was destroyed in the 2010-2011 earthquakes.

Read the story of the Lyttelton's two Anglican Churches here.

St Saviour’s Church (bottom left) in West Lyttelton, c.a. 1911. Lyttelton Museum.

St Saviour’s Church (bottom left) in West Lyttelton, c.a. 1911. Lyttelton Museum.

Through the Glass Ceiling

March 8 - 12 April 2015, Tin Palace, 13a Oxford Street, Lyttelton

In conjunction with Tin Palace, who displayed the Kate Sheppard sculpture, the Museum presented information relating to the suffrage movement and suffrage centenary celebrations in Lyttelton. 

At Home with the Grubbs

29 October 2014 - 07 March 2015, Grubb Cottage, 62 London Street, Lyttelton.

This exhibition, held at Grubb Cottage, explored the Grubbs’ connections with Lyttelton and its history via their home life, and connected with the 2014 Beca Heritage Week theme of Making Connections. For details about Grubb Cottage, see the Grubb Cottage Heritage Trust website.

Lyttelton Road Tunnel 50th Anniversary Celebration

31 August 2014, Lyttelton Library, 37 London Street, Lyttelton

On the official tunnel walk-through day, the Museum displayed a slideshow of Lyttelton Road Tunnel photos in Lyttelton Library's round window. View the slideshow here.

Service and Sacrifice: Lyttelton stories from World War One

13-31 August 2014, Tin Palace, 13a Oxford Street, Lyttelton

This exhibition contrasts the stories of Bertie Harkess, Nona Hildyard, and Walter Lester - three Lytteltonians who heeded the Empire’s call to fight in World War One. View this exhibition here.

Festival of Lights

June 20132014, and 2015 Henry Trading, 33 London Street, Lyttelton

To illuminate Lyttelton's heritage, Lyttelton Museum projected images from its collection in the window of Henry Trading. See a selection of those images from the 2015 slideshow below, and keep an eye out for more at the next Festival of Lights.