$25m museum grant

A $25 million Government contribution to Canterbury Museum’s redevelopment is “crucial” to the project, the Chair of the museum’s trust board says.

Trust Board Chair David Ayers says the money is vital to the project’s viability.

“Without this crucial contribution from the Government, we could not redevelop the museum, and address the issues that threaten its future,” he says.

The board has agreed a budget of $205 million for the redevelopment; $175 million for the building itself and $30 million for developing new exhibitions.

With the Government contribution, the museum has $150 million secured. David says the museum will now approach the Regional Cultural and Heritage Fund, and the Lotteries Commission about further funding.

“I’m confident we’ll have the $175 million for the building secured before work begins on the museum site in April next year. That will give us about four years to raise the final $30 million for the exciting new exhibitions,” he says.

Most of the museum will be packed up by early 2023. After a final farewell exhibition, it will close in April for work to begin.

The redeveloped museum will have far more exhibition space, meaning there will be room for exciting new displays alongside the returning old favourites.

The museum’s blue whale skeleton, which has been off display for nearly 30 years, will return, diving down into a new atrium space. Some recently acquired taonga, such as a set of medals belonging to Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, will be showcased for the first time.

In a new space at the heart of the redeveloped museum called Araiteuru, Ngāi Tahu and Ngāi Tūāhuriri will tell their own stories using taonga the museum cares for in partnership with them as mana whenua.

The redevelopment is expected to take five years, re-opening in 2028.

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