Canterbury Museum

Updated FAQS - 24 April 2013

Posted: 24 April 2013

Canterbury Museum is delighted to announce that the remainder of its Level 3 galleries including Discovery, Geology and the Bird Hall will reopen at 9am on Thursday 25 April.


FAQS - valid from 16 April 2012 - 24 April 2013

1.    Why has the Museum only partially reopened to the public?
There are two areas of the Museum that are currently undergoing engineering peer review assessments. These areas are closed off and pose no danger to the public, however, to ensure these areas are thoroughly assessed their closure is necessary. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. We hope to fully reopen the Museum in April 2013.

What areas of the Museum are open?
Visitors to the Museum have access to the Mountfort Gallery (decorative arts and costume) and Maori galleries, as well as the Early European Settlement, the Victorian Museum room and the Christchurch Street. Level 3 is also open to the Visitor Lounge, Living Canterbury, Asian Arts and Antarctic Gallery. Access to Level 3 is at the end of the Christchurch Street. The Museum Cafe on Level 4 is also open.

3.    Was there any original earthquake damage to the Museum?
During the February 2011 earthquake, the majority of damage to the building was non-structural damage to walls and ceilings and the repair work in the galleries has been completed. Canterbury Museum is the only neo-Gothic heritage building in Christchurch that has survived the earthquakes in good condition, largely as a result of earthquake strengthening carried out in the early 1990s. There has been no further damage to the Museum, however, routine engineering peer review assessments are being undertaken at the request of the Canterbury Museum TrustBoard.

4.    Do people need to be aware of any risks when they enter the building? If so, what are they?
No. The building is certified for public occupation. The public can safely enter the Museum and tour the galleries at their leisure. Visitor Hosts will be on-site to answer any enquiries from the public as necessary.

5.    I was in the building with my family before it temporarily closed, does that mean that the building wasn’t safe for the public back then?
Please be assured that the Museum is certified by CERA for public occupation. The Board made the cautious decision to close some areas of the building in order to carry out engineering peer review assessments. For this reason, it was deemed appropriate to temporary close the entire Museum. Now, after much thought and feedback from the community, we are opening the areas of the Museum that are not affected by the engineering peer review assessment process.

6.    Is Discovery open?
Unfortunately Discovery remains closed to the public while the building undergoes routine engineering peer review assessments. We hope to reopen Discovery in April 2013.

7.    Are there any programmes for children running at the moment?
For information on holiday programmes please email

8.    What exhibitions are still on at the Museum? 
Scott's Last Expedition is currently open in our Special Exhibitions Hall. One hundred years after its tragic end, Scott’s last expedition to the Antarctic still resonates as a fantastic tale of endeavour and courage. The exhibition, Scott’s Last Expedition, uncovers Scott the man, the team he brought with him to Antarctica and the details of the fascinating Terra Nova expedition.

9.  Is the Museum Store open?
Yes, the Museum Store is open. For more information see

10.  Is the Museum Cafe open?
Yes, the Museum Cafe on level 4 is open.

11.  When it the Museum likely to fully reopen to the public?
It is hoped that we will fully reopen to the public by April 2013.

12.  Have your opening hours changed?
Our opening hours have not changed. We are open seven days a week from 9am to 5.30pm in Summer, and until 5pm in Winter.

13.  Where can I park?
There are many car parks located along Rolleston Avenue including a car parking area directly opposite the Museum. The Christchurch Botanic Gardens has a car parking facility (entry via Rolleston Ave at the Armagh Street bridge) and car parks are also located around Cambridge Terrace - just a short stroll from the Museum. Please note, the Christchurch City Council charges an hourly rate for car parks, and most are restricted to one or two hour periods, with the exception of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens car park which offers free parking for three hours.