Olveston is a popular attraction treasured by locals because it offers a full social history experience. Both the house itself and its art and artefacts are historically significant. Visitors experience the ‘lived-in’ atmosphere of gracious living, rather than a traditional museum collection; they can walk through the kitchen and domestic areas ‘downstairs’ then step up and into the life where the Theomin family lived with their fine furnishings, china and significant artworks.
David, Marie and their children Dorothy and Edward, lived here from 1906 to 1966. Olveston, a 35-room mansion, takes its name from the village near Bristol where David Theomin had spent his childhood holidays. The Theomin family was actively involved in their Jewish congregation and Dunedin society and were successful in their business ventures. The house was left to the city by Dorothy upon her death in 1966.