About Us

Our Story

The Port Chalmers Maritime Museum is owned and operated by the Port Chalmers Historical Society Inc, formerly the Port Chalmers Early Settlers and Old Identities Association which was founded in September 1913.

The Museum is housed in the former Port Chalmers Post Office building, an iconic 1876 Category 1 Heritage Building and is located on a commanding site which, prior to the 19th century land reclamation, was the beach in Koputai Bay where the first settlers from the sailing ship John Wickliffe landed on 23 March 1848 to establish the Port and the Province of Otago.

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The Maritime museum provides a window into the region’s nautical past. With collections covering commercial fishing, shipping, Antarctic exploration and social history, the objects, archives, photographs, manuscripts and books here provide an invaluable resource for research while offering a stimulating display for visitors.

The newly built Boat Shed displays a 100 year old wooden seine fishing-boat, a complete ship’s cabin from the late 19th century, and an X Class yacht. A large window in the gallery will give a close up view of the port’s operations.  The Boat Shed is designed to replicated the former Union Steam Ship Company Port Chalmers Marine work which stood nearby the museum building is unique internationally by being surrounded on three sides by a working container port, Port Otago, with container and cruise ships berthing within 200 meters of the building.