Art & creativity, Central city  |  6 Oct 2021

Christchurch’s stylish new art museum – Ravenscar House Museum – will open to the public on 8 November.

It was originally due to open this month, but it has been pushed back because the Covid-19 lockdown in August/September delayed the fit-out of the Rolleston Avenue building and the installation of the art collection.

Ravenscar House Museum is the vision of Christchurch philanthropists Susan and the late Jim Wakefield, who have gifted it to the people of Christchurch and Canterbury through their Ravenscar Trust. It was designed by Patterson Associates and will house the Wakefield’s extensive collection of New Zealand art, which includes works by Frances Hodgkins, Colin McCahon, Ralph Hotere and many other prominent Kiwi artists.

Canterbury Museum is going to operate Ravenscar House Museum as a stand-alone, self-financing visitor attraction. Revenue will be generated through ticket sales, merchandise and car parking.

“The Museum has been involved in the Ravenscar project since 2013 so it’s immensely satisfying to see Jim and Susan’s vision coming to fruition,’’ says Canterbury Museum Director Anthony Wright.

“We are honoured to have been entrusted with the care of this stunning building on behalf of the people of Canterbury. We can’t wait to open the doors so that people can see the Wakefields’ wonderful collection in this extraordinary new visitor attraction. Bring on 8 November!’’

Steve Wakefield, Chair of the Ravenscar Trust, says they are delighted to be opening the museum after eight years of planning, design and construction.

“My parents’ vision was that this place would not just be a gallery or a home for the artworks, but a building that was itself a work of art and that it would be admired for its design, and that was provocative and inspirational.

“Our team has truly delivered a stunning result and our family is very happy that we will soon be welcoming the public to Ravenscar House Museum to enjoy the best of New Zealand art and architecture,’’ Mr Wakefield says.

The land on which Ravenscar House Museum was built was gifted by Christchurch City Council following public consultation in 2015.