The Timber Museum was born from the passion of a small dedicated group known as the Timber Museum Society. Back in 1972, Frank Sneddon, the editor of the Putaruru Press, who had recently returned from Canada, suggested the establishment of a timber museum.
Because of the long association of Putaruru with the timber industry, Sneddon felt it would be the ideal place to set up a museum and a public meeting was held to gauge interest. It was from this meeting that the Timber Museum Society was formed.
The society was offered a lease on the present site and the first buildings arrived on site in 1977. The Tuck and Watkins Mill and TTT Order Office were opened to the public in September 1981.
The Cookhouse Cafe opening and Loggers Fun Open Day were held in March 1982. Since then more buildings and projects have been added to the site.
The purpose of the Timber Museum is to celebrate and preserve the history of the Timber Industry in the South Waikato District. The area has had a connection with the industry that dates back to the turn of the century.
In 1903, the bush tramline was built to haul logs from Mokai to Putaruru and the establishment of the Taupo Totara Timber Company meant an influx of population and the town of Putaruru developed.
The Museum is built on the site of the old Tuck and Watkins Mill and retains much of the equipment and machinery that was used.
Over the years, photographs and documents relating to the area have been donated and collated. The Museum has become the repository of several historic buildings that have been restored and house several of the collections. The interior of the buildings have been furnished with period equipment and machinery.
In 2005 the Trust was formed and the Putaruru Timber Museum changed its name to the “New Zealand Timber Museum”.