Canterbury Museum

Collections & Research

Canterbury Museum is a treasure trove of riches. Our collections have engaged and delighted visitors from all over the world for more than 130 years.

Early exchanges, mainly of moa bones and bird skins, enabled the Museum’s first Director, Sir Julius von Haast, to form the basis of Canterbury Museum’s collection.

Today, the collections comprise more than 2.1 million items encompassing Antarctic expeditions, Canterbury settlement, ethnology and natural history.


Canterbury Museum’s collections are a rich resource for research by curators, research fellows and visiting academics.

Research on the collections is published in a variety of journals and popular articles, as well as in the Records of the Canterbury Museum.

Research Fellows bring fresh perspectives and approaches to the Museum and our collections. They also make significant contributions to the wider organisation by working with the Museum’s curatorial and education groups to develop exhibitions and deliver public programmes.

More information about research

Access to collections

Access to our rich and vast collection of objects and stories makes Canterbury Museum a valuable and unique community resource. Making knowledge and collections available to the community is our core reason for existence.

Curators are available to provide information in the form of professional expertise and access to collections. For individual public enquiries the curators can be contacted directly. For all group bookings please contact Education and Public Programmes.