Christchurch residents and visitors to the city have made the most of a rich and varied offering of arts and heritage exhibitions and events over the past year.
Visitors to Canterbury Museum and Christchurch Art Gallery totalled over 1.1 million in the 2008–9 financial year, with both institutions reporting record numbers. Canterbury Museum saw 653,800 people through the doors, a 14% increase on last year’s figure, while Christchurch Art Gallery recorded 455,878 visitors, a 14.6% increase on 2007–8. In comparison, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa reports visitor numbers of around 1.3 million annually.
Canterbury Museum director Anthony Wright said, “We are absolutely delighted with these outstanding visitation figures. The year got off to a great start with the popular Da Vinci Machines exhibition and the opening of Fred & Myrtle’s Paua Shell House at Canterbury Museum, but it has been exciting to see those high levels of visitation continue throughout the year.”
“As well as buoyant overseas tourist numbers, local residents are making the most of the diverse and frequently changing programme of exhibitions and events that the Museum and Gallery both offer.”
Director of Christchurch Art Gallery, Jenny Harper, agrees. “We are thrilled with our final visitor numbers. Our free museum and art gallery are clearly valued by Christchurch residents as well as appreciated by visitors to the city. We have had many positive responses to the increasing variety of our programme offerings and the works we are placing beyond the normal exhibition spaces, as well as recent exhibitions like Rita Angus: Life & Vision and Miles: a life in architecture, which were clear local favourites.”
Canterbury Museum and Christchurch Art Gallery are located in Christchurch’s Cultural Precinct. General admission is free; donations are appreciated.