Wellington has transformed from the earnest and staid capital of Aotearoa/New Zealand and into the poster city for Richard Florida's Flight of the Creative Class. While The Lord of the Rings and Peter Jackson's Weta are accredited with instigating this transition, my article takes a wider view, exploring the role of a museum in reshaping the branding of place. I present more than the conventional ‘case study’ in the international creative industries literature. Instead, I demonstrate the role of GLAMs (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) in intervening in understandings of work, leisure, knowledge and urbanity. While other cities may not experience the branding windfall of a Hollywood film, the planning instigated in Wellington to prepare for a popular cultural opportunity is instructive. In aligning creative industries, popular culture and city imaging theory, GLAMs move from a serious but understated part of place branding to a facilitator for economic and social change.