South Canterbury Museum
Nature, history, and the stories of local people; it’s all in the South Canterbury Museum, the place to explore our region’s rich heritage.
From fossils to fashions, there are hundreds of things to see in our permanent displays and a changing exhibition programme.
The museum is located on Perth Street, downtown Timaru, beside the historic St Mary’s church, and is open Tuesday to Sunday, and most public holidays.
Discover the natural heritage of South Canterbury through displays of local geology, fossils and the rich forest environment which once covered this region. Explore local Maori history through our Takata Whenua exhibition area and find how local communities lived through the seasons.
Follow the stories of European arrival and settlement, and how South Canterbury developed into today’s flourishing region. Trip back through the recent past with displays of the everyday from the last 150 years, and learn how people lived their lives through the decades.
Among the exhibits is the story of Richard Pearse, the local man who designed and built an aircraft in his farm shed in 1903. A replica of his first design hangs from the museum’s ceiling.
The museum’s research area provides access to thousands of historic images, archival documents, local history publications and information files. Visitors can watch short films about local legends in the museum’s Heritage Theatre. Schools can explore heritage at the museum and sites around our region with the museum’s Heritage Education Service, led by qualified teachers.