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Canterbury Museum Christchurch
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Visiting Canterbury Museum Christchurch

4.5 (100%) 198 votes

Canterbury Museum is a museum with lots of collection that was first opened to public on 2 December 1867 and is the perfect place to learn about the rich cultural and natural heritage of New Zealand

Explore the rich culture of New Zealand in Canterbury Museum

Explore the rich culture of New Zealand in Canterbury Museum

1. History of Canterbury Museum

1. History of Canterbury Museum

Canterbury Museum that opened on 3 December 1867 originally featured geology specimens collected by geologists Dr Julius von Haast and Dr Ferdinand Hochsetter. Previously, the museum is located in the Provincial Council Buildings, but was moved to a new building on Rolleston Avenue on 8 February 1870 and opened to public on 1 October in the same year. In 1948, the management was given to the Canterbury Museum Trust Board that has a representative of Ngai Tahu. Then between 1955 and 1958, the museum was expanded with the addition of the Centennial Memorial Wing and doubled the size of the museum. The latest addition in the museum is known as the Garden Court Block that was built in what was the Open Court. The addition was as a conclusion of a 10-year earthquake strengthening project and was completed in 1995.

2. Learn some stories and cultures in the first level

2. Learn some stories and cultures in the first level

On the first level of the museum, you will see some exhibitions related to the history and culture of Christchurch. To learn more about the Maori culture, you can see the treasures showcased on this level. The collections will give you the information about how the lifestyle and culture changed when the Maori people arrived in the new land. There are displays of jewellery, musical instruments, clothing, carving tools, weapons, and harvesting tools. There is also an exhibition about the Early European Era that changed the landscape and society of New Zealand. Visitors can see the nineteenth century Christchurch street as well in the same level. Then, there is the Fred & Myrtle's Paua Shell House, a house filled with paua shells on the walls with an amazing variety of kiwiana kitsch. Last but not least is the Antarctic exhibitions that display the objects and stories of the exploration to the Antarctica. Canterbury Museum is the place for the largest and most diverse collection of Antarctic memorabilia and photographic images in the world.

3. Have fun with the children for a discovery

3. Have fun with the children for a discovery

On the third level, that is still part of the museum, you can learn about native species of birds beautifully displayed. The highlight of the exhibitions is a pair of the fabled huia. There is also beautiful dioramas that are the only to display white heron colony in the country. Other exhibitions including fossils and New Zealand's marine reptiles, where a mounted skeleton of Allosaurus is placed. Then, there are displays to show the Asian Arts, including the religious iconography. In this place, you can learn how the Mandarin and Samurai become traditional patrons of arts. This level is also a place for your children to visit the Discovery, a natural history centre designated for children and inquiring minds of all ages. There are weird and wonderful things that you can found. Your children can also try to dig for fossils, watch the live tarantulas, and learn about various creatures living in this world.

4. Bring the museum home

4. Bring the museum home

Inside the Canterbury Museum, you don't just see the collections. You can also visit the museum store to buy some souvenirs. There are a lot of choices of souvenirs that you can buy from here, all inspired by New Zealand arts. There are souvenirs related to paua, penguins, pottery, pounamu, and other things. The museum also sells postage stamps and can arrange the delivery of the products you purchased to your home country. After all the walking and shopping, enjoy the museum cafe that is located on the 4th floor of the building. The museum cafe opens everyday except on Christmas Day from 9 AM. The place is designed so that you can relax while enjoying a cup of espresso and a selection of sweet and savoury goodies. What makes it more enjoyable is the view of the beautiful Botanic Gardens that you can enjoy from this place.

Canterbury Museum Christchurch Tips and Tricks

How to Get Tickets?

You don't need any tickets to visit the Canterbury Museum. However, it will be much appreciated if you want to donate to the museum.

How To Get Around?

To get around, you will have to walk. The museum galleries are on two levels, while the top floor is the cafe. For those with wheelchairs, you can look around and go upstairs with the elevator. Wheelchairs are also available for hire.

What Should I Wear?

There is no recommended dresscode for visiting the Canterbury Museum. You might consider to wear nice, matching clothes if you want to take photos with the collections in the museum.

Canterbury Museum Christchurch Facts

Best Time to Visit

Best time to visit the Canterbury Museum is early in the morning so that the museum will not be so crowded with visitors. If you want to enjoy all the collections and learn more about New Zealand, then it is better to spare about 3 hours for visiting.


New Zealand Dollar

Will I Need a Guide?

You can go and explore the museum without a guide. But, if you want to get better explanations, then you can join the activities in the museum or by planning an education visit.

How To Get There?

There are several options available to get to the Canterbury Museum. The museum itself is located only 10 minutes walking from the central bus terminal. If you are driving a car, then you can park at the Rolleston Avenue on the opposite of the museum, the pay and display parking for two hours along the street outside the museum, or go for a free parking space for three hours in the Botanic Gardens that are located not far from the museum.

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