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Paua Shell House at Canterbury Museum

Paua shells return to the walls in Fred & Myrtle’s Paua Shell House at Canterbury Museum

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After many months of behind-the-scenes conservation and cataloguing, the shells from Fred and Myrtle Flutey’s paua shell lounge are returning to the walls in their new home at Canterbury Museum. Curator Sarah Whitehead said, “After all the background work that has gone into getting the shells and other objects ready for display, it is very satisfying to see it all coming together ready for the public to enjoy.”

Fred & Myrtle’s Paua Shell House at Canterbury Museum will be open to the public from 4 July 2008. The experience will begin with a short film narrated by Gary McCormick, explaining the story of Fred and Myrtle and how they became part of the kiwiana phenomenon. At the completion of the film, visitors will be invited to enter through the front door of the house and into the famous paua shell lounge. Ms Whitehead said, “From the start it has been very important that this is about Fred and Myrtle, their wonderful personalities and the story behind the collection, rather than just the paua shells on the wall. When visitors watch the short film before entering the lounge they will get a real sense of this extraordinary couple, and how their passion for paua led them to become New Zealand icons.”

Fred & Myrtle's Paua Shell House at Canterbury Museum has been created with the help of sponsors, who have provided expertise, materials and services free of charge or at wholesale rates. Fletcher Construction is the primary sponsor of the exhibition and Canterbury Museum is extremely grateful for their support. A team of Fletcher Construction employees have been working at Canterbury Museum since February this year constructing the house from original plans. The portion of the house that has been recreated is exactly to scale and both the interior and exterior have been designed and constructed to be as authentic as possible. Canterbury Museum staff have worked from photographs and footage of Fred and Myrtle’s lounge, using original objects and furnishings wherever possible. In addition to the paua shells and other ornaments from the lounge, original items from the Bluff house include the carpet, garden ornaments, house number and the giant concrete paua shell.

There will be no charge for admission to Fred & Myrtle’s Paua Shell House at Canterbury Museum. Canterbury Museum is located on Rolleston Avenue, Christchurch and is open every day from 9.00 am – 5.00 pm.


Fred & Myrtle’s Paua Shell House at Canterbury Museum
Opens 4 July
Level 1, Canterbury Museum
Hear the extraordinary story of an ordinary Kiwi couple in a short film narrated by Gary McCormick. The film explains the kiwiana phenomenon and how a Bluff couple with an unusual living room came to be New Zealand icons. Then, step through the front door and into the famous paua shell lounge of Fred and Myrtle Flutey. Fred & Myrtle’s Paua Shell House at Canterbury Museum is open from 9.00am daily, with sessions running throughout the day.

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