Friday, July 20, 2012


Dunedin is blessed with two museums. The Otago Museum, which is located at the north end of town, focuses on natural history, science, early civilizations and Maori heritage. There is an Egyptian mummy, the skeleton of a whale and a fine display of ceramics through the ages. One of my favourite displays is the Victorian Animal Attic, which has just been refurbished.

The oldest section of The Otago Settlers Museum

But it's Dunedin's other museum that I want to talk about. The Otago Settlers Museum. The focus of this museum was originally the settling of Otago which began with the arrival of the John Wickliffe on 23rd March 1848. Wickliffe's sister ship, the Philip Laing arrived three weeks later
In recent years the museum has enlarged its scope to include the Maori people and has extended its coverage back to 1770: the year captain Cook first arrived in southern New Zealand. 

A sponsor sign on a path, in front of our railway station, from a local company named after the first ship.

Displays include a dormitory-like ship's cabin that rolls as if on the high seas, a room with floor to ceiling portraits of Dunedin's settlers, an old steam train named Josephine and many examples of early life, both domestic and at work.

As you can imagine, with my love of history, this is a place I love to haunt. However it is undergoing huge refurbishments which forced a temporary closure. Sometime later this year it will open - bigger and better than before. And yes, I can't wait! In the meantime my eye is always caught by a couple of large posters whenever I pass by. It was these posters that drew me the other day to go walking with my camera ...

The museum also inhabits an old art-deco bus station.

As a child I remember the railways buses driving in at one end of this building then driving out the other. Lately it has been housing an historic transport display.

There's a whole new section being added as well as all the work inside the original buildings.

When it opens again I'll tell you all about it.

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