Quite apart from what’s inside, Auckland’s big museum is a gorgeous building, well worth a visit. It serves a dual purpose by being both a regular museum and a vast memorial to those who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars and subsequently.
The two functions seem to live together rather uneasily. It’s understandable that the impetus to build a museum was helped by the will – and the funding – to create a memorial. And the building is superb as a memorial both outside and inside on the third floor. 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. Of course if the alternative would be like the Te Papa Experience in Wellington then some of us would say ‘don’t bother’ – but somehow this feels a bit like a museum opportunity that hasn’t come right yet.
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: