Why you should visit the South Canterbury Museum

The South Canterbury Museum on Perth Street is a great place to explore the culture of our District.  It's a great place to take the entire family.

There's always plenty to see - new exhibitions pop up all the time and they've got several long term collections you won't find anywhere else.

See remnants of our natural heritage

We've got plenty of fascinating natural heritage for you to learn about. Visit the South Canterbury Museum to see remnants of our natural heritage for yourself.

The museum is home to collections of local fossils, insects, birds, marine life and other creatures. It houses exotic butterflies, birds eggs and shells gathered by locals. In 1889, quarry workers in Timaru discovered moa bones believed to date back millions of years.

Learn about our Māori history

Timaru has a wonderfully rich indigenous history, dating back more than 800 years with the arrival of early Māori settlers.  Visit the museum to learn how local Māori lived in the region (check out the Takata Whenua exhibition). You'll learn about mahika kai, the seasonal food-gathering cycle.

The museum is also home to a range of archaeological material, as well as some early textile and craft items.

Find out about Timaru's European settlement

We've got some pretty colourful characters in our past from bishops and explorers to runholders. Visit the museum to learn about some of them, as well as how, why and when European settlement occurred in Timaru.

You can learn when our artificial harbour was developed, look at some of the early artefacts, watch historical documentaries, check out photos, maps and books on the era.

Get insight into our social history

The museum has a wide-ranging collection of everyday objects from different periods of Timaru's past giving insight into the city's social history. This includes objects from local trades and industries such as potteries, brick-making works and foodstuff manufacturers.

There's also an extensive collection of costumes and textiles dating back to the Edwardian era and later.