Dunedin Museum of Natural Mystery – Dunedin, New Zealand - Atlas Obscura
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Dunedin Museum of Natural Mystery

Three rooms of bones, curios, and one artist's collection of natural artifacts create this intriguing museum. 


New Zealand artist Bruce Mahalski’s dream was always to work in a museum, so finally he just created one for himself. The Dunedin Museum of Natural Mystery is a tiny collection of curios that attempt to show off the beauty of bones and the bizarre.   

Spread over three rooms of an old central city villa, the museum contains a collection of skulls, bones, biological curiosities, ethnological art, and unusual cultural and paranormal artifacts which the artist has collected over a lifetime. There’s also a gallery featuring the artist’s trademark textural bone sculptures and paintings of animals on canvas.

Most of the things in the little museum have been personally picked up or kindly donated by the artist’s friends and colleagues. Nearly everything in the museum has some connection with the world of nature, but there are also a few other interesting things that just seem to fit.

The collection is always changing, as items are added or removed. The artists concocts new displays that he adds to the mix, and also improves and revamps older ones. The museum might be small, but it’s got the skeleton of much greater ambitions.

Know Before You Go

The Museum is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. See its website for opening hours on public holidays.

It costs NZ$5 to visit the museum, but children under 10 can visit for free. Parking is available on the street or in the drive-way. Alternatively, it's a short walk up the hill from George Street or Olveston.

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