​​​​​​​​Central Otago District Council's direct involvement in the museum space includes ownership of the Cromwell Museum complex, collection and contributing towards its operations, and funding grants by both the Vincent Community Board and the Council towards our district museum Central Stories and the services it provides.  A brief overview of these two museums is below and in our Quick Links on this page we have provided a link to information about the many other museums dotted around our district.

Cromwell Museum

​The Cromwell Museum building and its collection, located in the heart of the Cromwell Mall, are both owned by Council but the museum is run by the Cromwell Museum Trust, a community organisation run by volunteers. 

The collections held by the Cromwell Museum are of high importance to the Cromwell Township and surrounding district. They represent the tangible heritage of Cromwell and the surrounding area and have been built up through the support and donations of the community over many years.

The collection includes domestic and agricultural items, construction of the Clyde Dam, formation of Lake Dunstan records, mining and geological items, clothing, archaeological materials such as Chinese artefacts and sub fossil deposits, Maori artefacts, photographic collection, books, documents and newspapers (Cromwell Argus).

The photographic collection is of local, regional and possibly of national importance.  Many of these photographs do not exist outside of Cromwell.  These historic photos have special importance because much of the history of the area was destroyed with the building of the Clyde Dam. 

The archaeological material is of national importance because the area has been the subject of intensive archaeological investigation and research on both prehistoric and historic sites. The Museum possesses a considerable proportion of this material.

The Cromwell Argus is of regional and national importance because few copies survive.  The Cromwell Museum has the largest collection of these newspapers, the National Library has microfilmed the entire collection and the originals are now housed in the Hocken Library.

The building itself was purpose built at the time of building the mall and has a temperature controlled environment in the main museum.


Cromwell Museum
47 The Mall
Phone: (​​03) 445 3287

Email: ​

Central Stories

The Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery acts a hub for culture and heritage in Central Otago and supports the smaller museums within our district. 

Central Stories is based in Pioneer Park (on Centennial Avenue) in Alexandra and shares its foyer space with the Alexandra i-SITE. The building is a purpose built museum building with permanent open galleries.   

The museum also provides a space for art exhibitions, public lecture series, and a young person's Explorers club, plus community group meetings and music recitals are regularly held there. The museum has retail space and merchandise, which it sells as part of the museum operation. 

The Museum is managed by the Alexandra District Museum Inc., a non profit society which employs the museum director and other staff.  The museum also uses significant volunteer time for a great variety of functions including data input, digitising of images, one-off research and project work.  The museum receives funding from both the Vincent Community Board and the Central Otago District Council for various services it provides and it is renewed annually.

A key focus for the museum is the history of the Alexandra area including the natural environment, e.g. skinks and landscape, gold discovery and dredging, and the Blossom Festival.  The museum also has a significant library of resources, heritage items and provides a research facility.   

The Central Stories building is also home to Central Cinema, a 40-seat community cinema. The ODT Theatre can also be booked for presentations. Bookings are managed by the Museum.



Central Stories
21 Centennial Avenue
PO Box 308
Alexandra 9340
Phone: (03) 448 6230

Page reviewed: 29 Oct 2018 9:54am