Research & Collections

John McCraw Research Room

John McCraw Research Room

Central Stories is lucky enough to house the John McCraw Research Room. This facility is a rich resource for staff, volunteers and the public. It is open during museum hours and is free for the public to come in and use. Most material we hold is based on Alexandra specifically however we may also hold some information from/about the larger Central Otago area.
The John McCraw Research Room contains: General Information on:

  • Alexandra & Central Otago
  • Mining & Dredging
  • Gold
  • Chinese immigrants
  • Farming, orcharding and viticulture
  • Water & hydroelectricity
  • An extensive photo archive collection
  • Information on Central Otago families and local identities
  • Cemetery & burial records
  • Electoral rolls & school records
  • A collection of Oral Histories
  • Copies of the Central Otago News from 1948-2006 (not available on Papers Past)

Members of staff are always available to answer general enquires. If you would like further assistance or an enquiry carried out for you, we ask that you fill out a research enquiry form and our Collections Manager will be in contact. Please note, research assistance or copies of photos/material will incur some costs, please see our schedule of services and fees for the full details.


Central Stories houses a number of objects, not all of which are on display in our galleries. Our collections are of high regional and in some case national, importance and represent the tangible heritage of the district. They have been built up through the support and donations of the community over many years. The collections are comprised of a wide variety of articles; records, books, artefacts, textiles, furniture and paintings to name but a few. The collections also include a number of smaller donor orientated collections, for example the Elizabeth Stevens Art Collection & Mabel Still's dolls, which are not only unique but hugely significant and valuable.

The Central Stories collections consist of 5 parts:

  • The Permanent collection
  • The Picture collection
  • The Reference (Book) collection
  • The Loaned collection

If you have enquiries, regarding the collections, including donating, viewing or borrowing objects, please contact our General Manager at the museum.

John McCraw

John Davidson McCraw was born, and educated, in Dunedin in 1925. He is recognised as the foremost authority on the Alexandra District. While his passion for all things historic was sparked whilst he headed the Department of Scientific & Industrial Research it would take nearly 30 years before this translated into the written word. Professor John McCraw’s impressive catalogue of books, research and popular lecture series led to this room being dedicated to him; a fitting tribute for a man who has meticulously recorded the stories of Central Otago. John McCraw was further honoured by the Central Otago District Council with a Special Award in 2006.