Wellington Museum

Monday10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Tuesday10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Wednesday10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Thursday10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Friday10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Saturday10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Sunday10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

3 Jervois Quay

04-472 8904

Perhaps the more unassuming of the capital’s many museums, Wellington Museum certainly has a tale of its own to tell when it comes to history. The heritage building, constructed in 1892, is something of a collection item itself, and walking in here will make learning history a real pleasure.

The ground floor transports you straight to the time when Wellington’s waterfront was a loading and ever-busy port of action, with replica cargo tied around the walls, and the sounds of the dock playing through hidden speakers. Walk through to the snap shot of Wellington’s history where from the 1900’s to the early 2000’s you’ll find facts and figures and items that are sure to wow any fact-hungry friend. Out the back is FLUX – a studio space programmed by a co-op of 18-35 year olds. Anybody who has something they want to show to the public can apply to the co-op. From music gigs to exhibitions, shows and short movies, the area revolves around allowing keen young makers and creators to have a space to share their work.

Up a level you’ll find the building pays homage to its previous life as the Maritime Museum, the first floor being dedicated to the histories of the ocean and all those who travelled upon it – the Wahine Disaster movie and artefacts from the ship both humbling reminders of one of New Zealand’s great tragedies.

Cleverly named Ngā Heke (meaning ‘ribs’) the second floor sits in the middle of this mighty museum and here the curators have allowed things to be a little playful. Token stations mean you can vote on what you think what description is most likely for each display, as you wander the room of artefacts. A stake made to fend off vampires? Or a carefully crafted tool for use on boats? Once you’re finished being bamboozled by facts and absolute falsities, climb up to the attic – the third floor of the museum that’s home to a juxtaposition of timeless treasures from Wellington’s history. There’s King Dick the first lion that padded around Wellington Zoo and Rusty the very last lion to be taxidermied by the Zoo, the old town hall clock sitting pride of place on the wall, and even a separate ‘blueprint room’ dedicated to the architect of the building – the late Frederick Jersey Clere.

Creaky wooden floorboards and dim lighting add to the mystery and the magic of the museum, where around any given corner you might come across a time machine, the replica crown jewels or even an elephant’s saddle.

Words by Rosie Morrison & Photography by Anna Briggs

3 Jervois Quay

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