Museum Services - Ngā Rātonga

Collection Development and Management - Te Tiaki me te Whakawhanake i te Whakaputunga Taonga

  • Comprehensive collection of natural and human history of New Zealand and the world
  • Around 200,000 objects in collection
  • Between 300 and 500 new objects or archives donated each year by about 100 people and organisations
  • Contemporary collecting focus is on Whanganui region and the regional experience
  • 70,000 collection records on database, transferring 115 years of paper records and early electronic records into consistent, reliable data. Will provide platform for much greater access to collection information
  • Designated repository for Crown Archives and Presbyterian Church of NZ Archives
  • Preservation, preventative conservation and conservation
  • Lending collection objects to other cultural institutions, nationally and world-wide
  • Researching the collection to support collection documentation
  • Research to support community projects and group activities


Research and Advisory Services - Ngā Rātonga Rangahau me Ngā Rātonga Tautoko

  • Based on collections and professional expertise of staff
  • Answer up to 1,500 enquiries per year
  • People given access to collections and information for many reasons:
  • Creating films, books, articles, exhibitions
  • Reunions and celebrations
  • Education and personal study
  • Genealogy
  • Family interest in objects given in the past
  • Identification of objects and specimens
  • Academic and scientific investigation
  • Professional help and advice on care of collections and objects held by families, businesses and organisations and smaller museums in region, help with funding applications and training workshops
  • Responsive to events in the community that need expertise with collections, eg. post-flood salvage and treatment of water-damaged materials, referrals to conservators and tradespeople who can help

Exhibitions and Events - Ngā Whakaaturanga me Ngā Pūreitanga

Exhibitions bring the world to Whanganui and present Whanganui to the world. Research, curation, design and construction enable us to produce high quality exhibitions that tell the stories and Whanganui and the wider world.

We rely completely on external funding sources for all exhibition and event projects. Every exhibition and event are opportunities for contact and engagement with a different slice of the community.

Annual exhibition programme involves:

  • Enhancement, maintenance and changes in long-term exhibitions
  • Programme of changing exhibitions; two large and six small per year
  • Local and curriculum focus during school term time
  • Summer tourist season exhibition with wide visitor appeal
  • Design effectively so elements of temporary programme transfer to enhance the long-term exhibitions
  • Each exhibition contains elements that acknowledge learning styles and interests of different sectors of community

Events include public talks, performances and holiday programmes and are linked to exhibitions or events within our community

  • Activities in the Museum enhance visitor experience and create opportunities for more learning and social interaction
  • Programmes are also designed to tie in with Whanganui or national initiatives
  • Programmes are designed to target different sectors of the Musuem audience and to cover all stakeholders over a year’s delivery

Education: Curriculum and Community - Te Tari Mātauranga: Ā Kura, Ā Hāpori Rānei

Formal organised education programmes for schools and education groups from pre-school to tertiary and community groups supplement the learning from self-led exploration of the Museum exhibitions, public programmes, research services and collection.

  • Curriculum based programmes for primary and secondary schools funded through contract with Ministry of Education
  • Programmes can be delivered in both English and Te Reo Māori
  • Educators in city work closely together and market Education the Whanganui Way to schools throughout the North Island and attract school camps and day trips to the city
  • Community Opportunities cater for pre-schools, elder groups, disabled groups and range of specialist programme needs
  • Support to UCOL fashion, Fine Arts and Computer Design. Students use collections and staff expertise in groups and as individuals
  • Support for Wananga learning programmes

Management and Promotion - Ngā Whakahaeretanga me Ngā Whakatairanga

All services and programmes bring a wide range of individuals and groups in the community into contact with the Museum. Special attention is paid to communicating with and increasing local and regional participation.

  • Free entry to all Whanganui residents and all children 16 years and under
  • Open 363 days each year from 10.00am to 4.30pm
  • e-News distributed throughout New Zealand every two months
  • Weekly media releases are distributed widely and aim to keep news of the Museum’s activities in the public eye
  • Website provides information and access internationally


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The Majestic Theatre, originally called His Majesty, was opened in 1913 and named for King George V who had ascended the throne in in 1910. It was built on lease land where the old St Marys Catholic Presbytery had once stood. The film on the Majestic's advertising hoarding, "Stolen Life", starred Bette Davis and Glen Ford.