The centrepiece of this august institution is Southern Land, Southern People, showcasing Otago’s cultural and physical past and present, from geology and dinosaurs to the modern day. The Tāngata Whenua Māori gallery houses an impressive waka taua (war canoe), wonderfully worn old carvings, and some lovely pounamu (greenstone) weapons, tools and jewellery. Other major galleries include Pacific Cultures, People of the World (including the requisite mummy), Nature, Maritime and the Animal Attic.

The Tūhura Otago Community Trust Science Centre (adult/child $15/10) boasts 45 hands-on interactive science displays, a Tropical Forest butterfly enclosure and a 7.5m-high double helix slide. There's also a planetarium ($12/7), which screens films on its 360-degree dome.

Guided tours depart from the information desk at 11am, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm daily ($15 per person).