Weather :

Timings : April to September: 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM
October to March: 9:30 AM to 7:00 PM
Closed on Christmas Day.

Time Required : 2-3 Hours

Entry Fee : Free

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Canterbury Museum, Christchurch Overview

The Canterbury Museum is the go-to place for anybody who wants to experience the cultural, human and natural history of New Zealand. It is a striking Gothic Revival that opened in 1870 as a single-storeyed building. It now stands as a beautiful foundation after the various additions made to its architecture over the years. With its 2.3 million more artefacts, the museum offers not only historically fascinating exhibits but also multiple galleries, each with a unique timeline, place, and history to show.

The popular tourist attraction is not only known for the variety of exhibitions it has to offer but also for the activities and tours specially designed to cater to children. Hence, the venue is perfect for a family to visit as people of all ages will enjoy the museum and be entertained through the different activities.

The museum is located right in the central city of Christchurch, within its Cultural Precinct, which is also home to nearby attractions like the Christchurch Art Gallery, the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and the Arts Centre of Christchurch. It lies on Rolleston Avenue, towards the east end of Hagley Park and can be reached by public and private transportation or by foot.

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Special Exhibitions

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There are two Special Exhibitions that the museum puts up, one being Breaking the Ice and the other, Arctic Voices. Breaking the Ice is a highly intriguing exhibition that brings to life “The First Year in Antarctica” with its displays full of limited and extraordinary artifacts from the first buildings in Antarctica that were left behind by explorers at Cape Adare. It was created along with the Antarctic Heritage Trust in a partnership and narrates the famous tale of Carsten Borchgrevink’s expedition.

The second Special Exhibition, Arctic Voices is an interactive exhibit that showcases the flourishing range of wildlife and nature in the Arctic region with its thought-provoking images, clips, and actual specimens. It was built in collaboration with Science North and the Canadian Museum of Nature, so one can be assured that the information and experiences they are exposed to would be as accurate as possible.

Ongoing Exhibitions

The museum also has Ongoing Exhibitions such as the Quake City that tells the devastating stories and the repercussions of the Canterbury earthquakes and the Antarctic Gallery that gives one an insight on the age of discovery and expeditions that took over the region and the journey of its development till the modern times. The Asian Arts section brings more knowledge to one about the Asian traditional arts, including religious symbolism and the cultural patrons, mainly focussed on the Eastern half of the continent.

The Bird Hall has attractive displays of the native species of birds, along with those that are going extinct or currently fall under rare categories, shedding light on the faunal history of the region. The Christchurch Street and the Early European exhibits showcase the day-to-day life of the people from the nineteenth century and the story of the European explorers who drastically altered the then-normative way of life in New Zealand.

More Ongoing Exhibitions

Exhibitions like Fred and Myrtle’s Shell House and the Ivan Mauger Speedway King portray the histories of the personal lives and stories of monumental figures that intrigue viewers to no end. Victorian Museum, The Egyptian Mummy, Ngā Taonga tuku iho o nga tupuna, Iwi Tawhito – Whenua Hou and the Mountfort Gallery are brilliantly put together artifacts and informative clips that make the visitors want to delve deeper into the rich cultural and ancient history of the respective places.

The other exhibitions like Geology and Living Canterbury are informative displays on the natural habitat of New Zealand, including fossils, marine life and the general eco-friendly values of the region.

Activities and Exhibitions for Kids

The museum has a café and a souvenir store too, along with the special activities organised to entertain children. These activities and displays lie in the section called Discovery, which is thriving with fascinating information about a variety of creatures and the natural habit that surrounds them. Polar Night at the Museum is an exclusive event for children under the age of 16 wherein they can wear polar-themed costumes and carry their torchlights to engage in some clue-finding as a part of an exciting quest to find Pere the Penguin inside the museum.

The aforementioned event takes place from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM on the 9th, 11th, 16th and 18th of July 2019 in the form of a competition. Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult.

How To Reach Canterbury Museum

The bus service in the city provides routes for convenient access to the museum, and the central bus terminus is only at a distance of 10 minutes from the museum. There are three parking options near the museum, including the Pay and Display parking services on the parallel streets, free parking in the Botanic Gardens via the Armagh Street entrance for 3 hours, and paid parking at the Christchurch Art Gallery. By foot, it takes about 10 minutes to the museum from the Christchurch hotels and the Cathedral Square.

Cost and Entry Timings:

Entry to the museum is free for all on all days except on Christmas Day when the museum remains closed. The timings are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from the month of April to September and it is extended from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from October to March. The Discovery section of the museum which has specifically been designed for children has an entry fee of $2 per person, except those under the age of 3. The other chargeable exhibit is that of Quake City, which costs $20 for an adult, $16 for students and seniors and $8 for children under the age of 15 who are unaccompanied by an adult, and is free for those who are. It is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on all days.

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