Hunt for Canterbury Museum’s Treasures on Your Smartphone

Canterbury Museum visitors can use augmented reality technology to search the galleries for some of the Museum’s most precious treasures.

On Monday, Canterbury Museum launched a virtual treasure hunt tied to its 150th birthday exhibition, House of Treasures: Ngā Taonga Tuku Iho.

The House of Treasures treasure hunt is a web-based app that runs through most smartphone internet browsers. Users are challenged to find 16 treasures displayed around the Museum.

To discover a treasure, they must frame it with their phone’s camera and tap the screen to scan it. The app offers clues to help locate the objects.

If visitors scan all 16 objects, they can show their phone to staff at the Museum’s front counter to be rewarded with a postcard featuring one of the objects.

The digital treasure hunt’s developers,, used machine-learning technology to teach the app to recognise each of the 16 objects by sight.

The 16 objects are selected from the 79 showcased in House of Treasures, which comprises 28 rarely-seen treasures in the Level 3 Temporary Gallery and three in the Museum foyer. 38 gold-framed objects within the Museum’s permanent displays are also part of the exhibition.

Canterbury Museum Director Anthony Wright says the House of Treasures app is breaking new ground for the Museum.

“We run scavenger hunt activities for families fairly frequently and they are always a hit – but usually they involve a pencil and a piece of paper. We hope Canterbury families will be keen to give this new, digital version a go.”

“The Museum has been open at our Rolleston Avenue site for 150 years, but this is the first digital treasure hunt we’ve done.”

The objects in the House of Treasures exhibition are drawn from a book the Museum produced celebrating its 150th year on Rolleston Avenue.

Titled House of Treasures: 150 Objects from Canterbury Museum Ngā Taonga Tuku Iho, the book features 150 taonga from the Museum’s collection, superbly captured by award-winning photographer Jane Ussher with accompanying text by Museum staff.

The book is on sale now at selected bookstores nationwide, in the Museum Store and through the Museum’s website.