Local antiquities are displayed together with archaeological and ethnographic artefacts from around the world.
Originally founded in 1884, the museum has been at its current site since 1913. It reopened in May 2012 following refurbishment, and the following year was chosen as a finalist for Art Fund Museum of the Year.
The museum's collections span nearly two million years of human history across the inhabited globe. The oldest exhibit is a 1.8 million-year-old stone tool from Olduvai Gorge in East Africa; the newest exhibits come from contemporary artists.
Further highlights include material from Captain Cook's voyages; artefacts of British folklore and over 100,000 field photographs and negatives. The museum holds the most important collection of Fijian material outside Fiji and strong collections of Anglo Saxon objects and items from world prehistory, particularly the Palaeolithic era.