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Canterbury Museum, Christchurch facts for kids

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Canterbury Museum
Canterbury Museum 01.jpg
Canterbury Museum in 2017
General information
Type Museum
Architectural style Gothic Revival
Location Christchurch, New Zealand
Address Rolleston Avenue
Completed 1882
Inaugurated 1870 (first part of building)
Renovated mid 1990s
Design and construction
Architect Benjamin Mountfort
Designated: 25 September 1986
Reference #: 290

The Canterbury Museum is a museum located in the central city of Christchurch, New Zealand, in the city's Cultural Precinct. The museum was established in 1867 with Julius von Haast – whose collection formed its core – as its first director. The building is registered as a "Historic Place – Category I " by Heritage New Zealand.


The building, a Gothic Revival constructed on a design by Benjamin Mountfort, opened in 1870. Two years after its opening, the single-storey building was expanded with an additional floor in the Victorian Gothic style. The museum continued to grow over the next decade, with an addition built on in 1876 and an interior courtyard roofed in 1882. In 1958, a new wing was added adjacent to Christ's College, and another was built on in 1977. The building was strengthened in the mid-1990s and a four-storey block was added in 1995.

Earthquake impact

The museum sustained minor damage to its façade during the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake, but remains structurally sound. This can perhaps be attributed to the progressive strengthening and renovating of the buildings to earthquake standards between 1987 and 1995. An estimated 95% of the collections were unharmed. The statue of William Rolleston, located at the front of the museum, toppled off its plinth during the quake. The museum reopened on 2 September 2011.


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