The Dowse Art Museum was opened nearly 50 years ago in 1971 by His Excellency the Governor General Sir Arthur Porritt.

"In this gallery you, the citizens of Lower Hutt, have not only a magnificent new civic amenity, but also a nucleus from which can grow amongst New Zealanders, both young and old, a love of real beauty."

Since its establishment The Dowse has been a place of ambition and inspiration thanks to the community of people that work on its behalf.

This is true of Mayor Percy Dowse and his wife Mary to whom we owe our name. Their passion for a high quality local art gallery is something we share till this day.

Since The Dowse opened with the exhibition Artists of the Wellington Province 1939–1971 The Dowse has been supported by a strong and generous community as exemplified by The Dowse Foundation.

In particular, The Dowse’s acquisitions have been supported by the work of the Foundation. Recent successes in this area include Ronnie van Hout’s Fallen Robot in 2012, Peter Robinson’s people powered sculpture Tribe, Subtribe in 2013 -14 and more recently the publication and exhibition Gavin Hipkins: The Domain and the refurbishment of The Hive: The Dowse’s family lounge. You can read more about the outcomes of the Foundation’s work here.

As we look forward to The Dowse’s 50th anniversary we are excited to be working alongside the museum on a number of bold projects.

On this site you’ll find more information about how you can make your own donation, join the committee and help support artistic excellence and access in Lower Hutt.