Museums in the Colonies The great natural history and encyclopaedic museums of Europe arose as colonial empires were expanding round the globe. Efforts to organise, classify and display the material culture of distant peoples can be seen as a cultural echo of the era’s political imperialism. So what happened when newly arrived colonial communities in the so called ‘source countries’ (eg North America, Australia, New Zealand) set about establishing their own museums? Were the inspired ideals of European museums diluted or compromised? Roger Fyfe searches for answers in the the foundation years of the Canterbury Museum.