This study uses time series analysis to explore the extent to which the opening of the Museum of New Zealand in 1998 contributed to tourism growth in the nation's capital, Wellington. With the use of a series of different measures for tourism and major events in the city, econometric regressions are undertaken to better understand the relationship between visitors to the museum and tourism growth in the city's short-term commercial accommodation sector. The findings are consistent with the museum having a positive impact on tourist arrivals and overnight stays. These results contribute valuable empirical evidence of the positive role of museums in attracting tourists to urban centres. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.