"City and Maori History, Antarctica and Birds" Top 5 Page for this destination Canterbury Museum Tip by Kakapo2

Canterbury Museum, Christchurch: 15 reviews and 27 photos

  Canterbury Museum is an interesting place to go.
by Kakapo2
  • Canterbury Museum is an interesting place to go. - Christchurch
      Canterbury Museum is an interesting place to go.
    by Kakapo2
  • The museum, seen from another angle. - Christchurch
      The museum, seen from another angle.
    by Kakapo2

Update 02 July 2012 - Museum reopened

Parts of Canterbury Museum have reopened. See below why it was closed in April.
The Museum has reopened areas of the building that are well above the new building code. These are the Mountfort Gallery (decorative arts and costume) and Maori galleries, as well as the Early European Settlement display, the Victorian Museum room, the Christchurch Street and Canterbury Quakes exhibition. The remaining galleries, including Discovery and the Museum Cafe, will stay closed pending further engineering peer review assessments. Museum director Anthony Wright said that the Museum aims to be fully open to the public by August 2012.

Update 17 April 2012 - Museum closed

Canterbury Museum had received only minor damage in the earthquakes and reopened in late 2011. We went back to the Paua House, a great exhibition of Wearable Art and a fantastic display of "Hearts for Christchurch" that had been sent to the city from all over the world after the earthquakes. To everyone's surprise came the announcement yesterday that the museum would be closed until further notice due to safety concerns. The engineers and now reviewing and peer-reviewing - and in fact probably doing nothing more than covering their a**es after the horrible failure of some engineers who gave other buildings in the city their stamp of approval, made shonky safety checks after the initial earthquake on 4 September 2010, and many of those buildings collapsed on 22 February 2011 and killed people.

But well, we cannot help it. The whole earthquake recovery is getting worse than the earthquakes have been - except for the people, of course, who have lost loved ones in poorly and only superficially checked buildings.

This museum has something for everyone, how different the interests might be. I often go there to widen my knowledge about birds and recognise them more easily in the wild. The collection on the first floor is huge.

Although I prefer living birds those stuffed animals which hopefully all died a natural death have the big advantage that they do not fly away while you study their looks and feathers ;-) You will see many of them when you travel through the country and you will be pleased to recognise some of them, from the little fantails and silvereyes to the petrels, gannets and albatrosses. And, of course, the national bird, the kiwi. Just not the moa - a giant running bird like the emu and the ostrich, just much bigger. It has been extinct by moa hunters and Maori before the arrival of the European settlers.

I also like to stroll though the section with the Victorian streets of Christchurch, the old means of transportation. You can learn a lot about Maori life and history, as well as the big discovery tours to Antarctica. The cold continent plays a big role in Christchurch, as it has the International Antarctic Centre, and the ships to Antarctica start their journey at Lyttelton Harbour.

The museum is also a great place to learn more about ecology and waste, with many interesting and sometimes surprising interactive displays.

Additionally they have changing programmes and special exhibitions, so there is always something new to explore.

The museum is free of charge but donations are expected. Entry to "Discovery" is $2. Guided 1hr tours on Tuesday and Thursday (3.30pm) are free.

You enter through a nice souvenir shop which has an especially nice choice of art tiles. The café on level 4 has a tree-top view of the Botanic Gardens.

Museum hours (daily except Christmas Day):
9am - 5.30pm (Oct-Mar)
9am - 5pm (Apr-Sep)

Address: Rolleston Ave
Directions: The building right to the main entrance to the Botanic Gardens, opposite the Arts Centre. Before the earthquakes you would just have followed the tramway line from Cathedral Square, down Worcester Boulevard.
Phone: (03) 366 5000
Website: http://www.canterburymuseum.com

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jul 5, 2012
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