Many of the projects the OSA gets involved with are one-off items, like the purchase of an artefact, or a restoration, but several are on-going and provide seemingly less tangible benefits to both the museum and the OSA.  However taking a long-term view, these benefits stack up as being of strategic relevance to the status of the collection and the experience of the museum visitors, both of which support the role of the OSA as required by its constitution.

Monies raised through membership and donations go directly to support OSA projects.

Some of the more recent projects are listed below.



john martin motor bike2

John Martin Motor Bike

On his Triumph 750cc Bike, Dunedin-ite, John Martin set a New Zealand  record  of 152.98mph for the quarter mile sprint  back in 1975.  The bike has been on display at the museum for some time, and recently the family indicated they were prepared to sell the bike to the museum for its permanent collection.   Because of its special connection with Dunedin the OSA was glad to be part of the purchase agreement and assisted in the purchase of the bike to the museum as a permanent record of John Martin’s achievements. 

Robbie Burns Snuff Mull

Robbie Burns Snuff Box

A gold-snuff box inscribed as “(presented) by Wm Tytler Esq. ……May 8 1786 Robt Burns”, came up for sale in Dunedin in 2009.  How it got from Robbie Burns to Dunedin is unknown but the details were of sufficient consistency to be a probable possession of the great bard.  On the 250th anniversary of Burn’s birth the OSA, along with another funder, was able to hand-over the snuff-box to the museum.

Cottrell Chairs

Cottrell Chairs

The three historic chairs  were purchased in 2011 from William Cottrell, furniture expert and collector.  The chairs have a strong Dunedin collection and added to the museum’s significant collection of early settler furniture.

No1 Tram

No1 Tram

Riding the No1 Tram Car to Roslyn was part of the memories of many school kids travelling the hill to school, and of their parents taking the easy way down to town.   During the refurbishment of the museum the opportunity arose to restore the tram to its former glory.  The restoration was meticulous.  New windows and window frames needed to be made for instance, even a replica bogie was made for it.  With another funder the OSA was proud to facilitate this wonderful restoration. 

Settlers Cottage

Settlers Cottage

As part of the old museum, the replica settler’s cottage was a very popular exhibit, to such an extent that it was decided a replica cottage would become part of the refurbished one also.  The OSA, through member donations and other funds, was able to ensure the new, larger, more authentic version would be available to new generations of museum visitors. 

Journey of the Otagos

Journey of the Otagos

In assisting the museum to fund this huge project, the OSA went outside it usual remit of contributing to tangible items.  And we are so glad we did.  The documentary is a wonderful achievement of what can be achieved through great research, passion and integrity.  The result is a very worthy memorial to those from Otago who were part of the World War I campaigns.

Mundy Interactive

Mundy - Princes Street Photo Project

The Mundy photos, taken over the mid 1860’s provide a fascinating glimpse of Princes Street, Dunedin at the beginning of its golden era.  The opportunity to fund some young photographic students to replicate those photos from the exact site and angle showing the current buildings, and being able to merge them into the old via some clever technology was too good an offer to refuse.   The OSA was again a proud enabler.

Railway Info Station

Railway Information Station

A recent addition to the information stations around the museum the Railway Information Station allows viewers to explore the various railway lines and trains that served Otago in the great age of steam.  For those who grew up riding the trains, and those who enjoy the romance of steam, this was again an appropriate project for the OSA to be involved with.

Life On the Edge2

History Prize

Every year the Association awards a prize to the top 2nd year History student at the University of Otago. This enables the student work under supervision at the museum on a project of the museum’s choosing for a period of about 6 weeks.  The results of the project can turn up as  a publication in the OSA News, written reports, examinations of old diaries, or even an exhibition.  It is an important link between the museum and the university which the OSA has fostered over many years.


Pixie Town

Talk to most Dunedin-ites who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s and they will remember going to the DIC at Christmas to visit Pixie Town.  When the DIC closed down, and the Pixie Town sets were put up for sale, the OSA was fortunate enough to purchase several sets.  Since then the sets have been repaired, repainted and re-energised and now delight young and old each Christmas at the museum.  It is a joy for the OSA to be an integral part of this ongoing project.



This is a programme the OSA are working on with the museum staff to explore how the OSA can further support students or researchers to achieve their goals through projects that also are of benefit to the museum.