Victorian Museum

Take a trip around the world without leaving the room! The early displays at Canterbury Museum were like an encyclopaedia you could walk into.

Canterbury Museum’s first Director, Sir Julius von Haast, wanted to build a collection that captured as much of the natural and human-made world as possible.

Fossils from Austria, minerals from Germany and a parrot skeleton from equatorial Africa sit alongside Italian glassware and a cast of the Rosetta Stone. There is even a lock of the Duke of Wellington’s hair on display.

Haast’s worldwide collecting was paid for in large part thanks to the discovery of a large number of moa bones at a swamp in Glenmark. He traded the moa bones with other museums around the world receiving a wide variety of items in return. You will find Haast busily working in his office in the corner of the Victorian Museum.