MUSEUM OPEN HOURS

The Museum has new extended opening hours:

October to January2016: Friday–Sunday 12–2 pm

February to April:
Wednesday–Sunday 12–3 pm

We welcome visits outside these hours. Contact:

Dawn Coburn on 464 3696

Irene Ramsay on 464 3145.
Numbers are also on museum door.

Email middlemarchmuseum@gmail.com


Platypus


Middlemarch Museum

 

Tucked away on Aberafon Street is one of Middlemarch's best kept secrets. History buff or not, this fantastic little museum has a lot to offer.

The social history of this farming community is illustrated through an eclectic collection and the recreation of scenes from the past.

One of our most interesting objects is a unique submarine named Platypus, designed and built in 1873 to prospect for gold. Our research has uncovered new information about this piece of historic technology and we look forward to giving Platypus the pride of place it deserves in the near future.

The museum front room features the very special World War II quilt made by members of the local Women’s Institute in 1941- 42. 57 women embroidered motifs, their signatures and messages onto the squares of a hospital quilt sent to NZ troops. Late in 2016 it was returned to Middlemarch via Egypt, India, multiple European countries and finally Australia. All the needlewomen have been identified. The story of the quilt and the quilt ladies is being compiled. Publication is due late 2018. 

Another exhibition; “At Home in Middlemarch during WW1.” Is displayed in the second room. This shifts the focus from the 106 men, who left local farms and businesses to serve overseas during the Great War to the lives of those who remained at  home. We look at life in the Strath Taieri during wartime through the memorabilia from 100 years ago.
In the barn is an equestrian display of wartime saddles and other horse gear. Here you will also find an extensive collection of horse-drawn implements and farming tools.
An historic Guards Van features local railway history and beyond it a restored railway wagon illustrates the significant contribution the Otago Central Railway made to the local community through photographs, story and a timeline.
The Museum’s large photographic collection will be of interest to people tracing their family’s history. Also significant are the oral histories and interviews, cemetery transcripts, death notices, obituaries, Strath Taieri school admissions and a very extensive index of names drawn from archives and publications housed at the museum. 

Learn more about the Platypus:

» The Platypus: New Zealand's Pioneer Submarine Boat

» NZ Listener article 7 May 2015: "Sub of the day" by Sally Blundell:

New Zealand’s first and only submarine was based on an idea far ahead of its time. This article reveals new exciting information about the Platypus: "The Auguste – the new-fangled 'bateau plongeur” designed by French doctor and scientist Antoine-Prosper Payerne and inspected by Dickens in France in 1852 – is now considered one of the earliest successful submersible craft, part of a pioneering legacy that inspired ..."


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