Relief after a fire at Hamilton's Waikato Museum caused only minor damage.

Spokesman Lance Vervoort says a small fire broke out yesterday near Te Winika, the 200-year-old canoe which is one of the museum's most prized treasures.

He says there's some minor damage to carvings near the waka, but the museum's sprinkler and alarm systems worked properly, meaning fire fighters were there very quickly.

Mr Vervoort says three museum galleries will be closed for a couple of days while clean-up work is done.

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The museum will be open today.

Thanks for all the aroha guys. The damage is minor, 3 galleries closed for cleaning but the rest of the Museum open. http://t.co/KcYqPlhE5m