First the goldminers took to it with any means they had to extract ample precious metal, then it was water that bought the earth-movers to Cromwell and the town and valley were partially drowned to create hydro power. Cromwell Museum tells our story many ways… through renowned photographer Robin Morrison’s starkly beautiful images of the people who had great change imposed upon them and through the treasures, memories and everyday objects that give a glimpse of the lives of farming families, fruit-growers, miners and women whose work was never done. The museum formerly shared its space with the town’s tourist information centre(i-site). In 2014 the i-site moved to a new building and the Mall facility was able to become a dedicated museum space. A Trust was formed peopled largely by retired professionals, some with backgrounds in the Social Sciences. Soon after, the facility was fortunate to be chosen as the subject of a ‘makeover’ by Choice TV’s Heritage Rescue programme. Today Cromwell Museum is an attractive facility with a secure future.
The museum is run by seven passionate and dedicated trustees and a group of around 35 well-skilled volunteers. Trust chairperson Edith McKay(pictured above with volunteer Graham Brown) is a retired chef with a passion for geneology. She has encouraged the team to embrace technology to help secure Cromwell’s stories and artefacts. Around 1000 items are now catelogued with online archive ‘Ehive’ and an attractive new website was recently launched. Edith leads a Trust that has a clear focus, through well-honed guidelines and mission statement. “We have an absolutely tremendous Trust team because of the level of skills that they have. And it’s set up now for the next forty years, for successive Trustees to be able to easily take on.” The Trust are responsible for the training of the volunteers who operate the museum each day, visiting exhibitions, talks by experts and future projects. Their business-like approach has ensured that you won’t find any dusty, neglected artefacts around this place and that Cromwell’s very special story is being told and told well.
The museum, located in the Cromwell Mall, is free to visit.