Auckland – Memorial Museum

Auckland’s big museum is a gorgeous building, well worth a visit; it serves a dual purpose by also being a vast memorial to those who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars and subsequently.

You can understand why the impetus to build a museum was helped by the will – and the funding – to create a memorial. But in the event the two functions seem to live together rather uneasily. The building outside is superb as a memorial; and on the inside the third floor, which is entirely memorial, is also wonderful. But what’s left as museum is a bit disappointing: it seems dull, old, dusty – as if there isn’t money, or space, or will, to make it as good as it should be. That said, if the alternative would be like the Te Papa Experience in Wellington there’d be some of us saying ‘don’t bother’.

Firstly, then, the exterior:

And then the Museum stuff. Most of this is rather small items in cabinets: there are also a couple of stuffed animals and the odd skeleton, but there’s nothing that’s great to photograph:

Lastly, the Memorial side again, inside on the third floor. They really went to town on memorial windows and plaques, and on maps and other information about the wars: