Open daily, 10am–5pm, Free

419 Great King Street Dunedin, New Zealand

People of the World

Free

Level 2

Treasures from around the globe


Highlights

  • A ceramic panel showing the Madonna and Child, attributed to Florentine sculptor Giovanni della Robbia (1469–1529)
  • A marble statue of Alexander the Great’s head from the Persian part of his empire, dated to around 200BC
  • A Japanese wedding kimono, gifted to the Otago Museum and the people of Dunedin by the people of our sister city Otaru, Japan
  • A bronze Corinthian helmet dating from the early 6th century BC

 
History

What we collect says a lot about us. What do we value now, and what did we value 100 years ago? 400 years ago? 2000? Both treasures and everyday objects have important tales to tell about ourselves, past and present, and the evolution of our societies.

The People of the World gallery houses an eclectic collection from Ancient Egypt to the golden age of Greek philosophy to the modern day. It illuminates the past as we look towards the future.

Many people from Otago and beyond have shared their stories by gifting objects to the Museum’s collection. One such donor was Bendix Hallenstein, who gave the Museum an Egyptian mummy in 1894. Carbon-14 dating, an X-ray, a CT scan and facial modelling say she’s a middle-aged woman who probably lived over 2,300 years ago. You can find out more about her here.

 
Facts and figures

  • One of the oldest items in the gallery: a two-handled Etruscan jar from the 5th century BC
  • 1,682 objects on display
  • 5.5 pairs of shoes on display