Over nearly half a century, our collection has grown through donations from families, businesses, and organisations in Lyttelton and farther afield. And it is still growing. For the time being, our treasures are safely stored away while we work to establish a new Museum. 

The Museum's collection is gradually being catalogued. See the work so far on eHive here.

View a selection of images from our photo collection here.

View from Sumner Road, 1882. c. Lyttelton Museum collection

W.A. Horton, Engineer on the Terra Nova, skiing in McMurdo Sound. c. Lyttelton Museum collection

London Street, 1890. c. Lyttelton Museum collection

Maritime, industrial, naval
and waterfront history

As Christchurch’s main port and a gateway to the southern seas, Lyttelton has a rich maritime history. Our collection follows the development of the harbour to a fully industrialised port. 

Lyttelton’s town, port, and surrounds have long been home to shipwrecks and sailors; providores and prostitutes; wharfies and whalers; cruiseships, ferries, cargo, and fishing vessels. Life has been varied in this relatively small place!

Antarctic history

Many items in our Antarctic collection are of international significance. Lyttelton was, and still is, the port from which many Antarctic voyages leave; from Shackleton and Scott at the turn of the 1900s through to the modern scientific expeditions that depart each summer.

Lyttelton daily life: Local social and cultural history 

Our collection includes many items that relate to daily life in Lyttelton from the colonial era of the 1840s onwards. Clothing, homewares, tools, toys, and musical instruments – there’s a little bit of everything.

We also care for taonga Māori from the harbour area and are working with local iwi to help preserve and share their unique stories.

Other records of interest offsite