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Education programmes

Waikato Museum's education programmes explore and develop the curriculum through classroom-based sessions, exhibition tours and activities. 

Explore Art, Science, Social History and Tangata Whenua history and culture through our changing exhibitions. We will work with you to develop a programme to meet your teaching and learning needs.

Read our Education Programmes for 2019 here.

Admission fees

Short education programme $6 per student
Extended education programme (Big Day Out half-day)  $8 per student
Full education programme (Big Day Out full-day) $10 per student
Exscite and Inventors and Innovations: Waikato Bright Sparks Education programme $8 per student
Exscite and Inventors and Innovations: Waikato Bright Sparks + a gallery programme   $10 per student


Prices vary according to the programme selected, duration of your visit and consumables used.


Early childhood - 1 adult:4 students

Years 0-6 - 1 adult:8 students

Years 7-10 - 1 adult:15 students

Years 11-13 - 1 adult:30 students

These ratios include teachers/supervisors.

NOTE: One adult per the ratios listed above may attend free as a supervisor; additional adults who wish to attend beyond that ratio are charged the student fee. 

For information on class times, length, ratios and how to book, check out Information for teachers. Booking is essential for all programmes. 

Our programmes

Bookings are essential, email


Waikato Museum SJP 38 Copy


The Exscite gallery is jammed-packed with great interactive ways to learn about science. The programme includes a classroom session (tailored to your group), exhibition tour and interactive fun – inclusive cost $8.

Building Bridges July SHP 16

Inventors and Innovations: Waikato Bright Sparks

Open now

People have brilliant ideas everyday but how do these ideas get transformed into something bigger and real? Inventors and Innovations: Waikato Bright Sparks examines some of our region’s problem-solving success stories through an immersive experience that will take you on a journey through time and space. Learn how bridges work then design and build your own. Power up an electric fence and find out what’s in the DNA of an innovator. This exhibition is sure to motivate the avid inventor and endless tinkerer in everyone. 


The Gendered Lens

15 March - 28 April 2019

We all see the world through a gendered lens. Our experiences of the everyday are continually mediated by our gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, religious and political beliefs and cultural affiliations. The seven photographers – Ans Westra, Lisa Reihana, Yuki Kihara, Christine Webster, Ann Shelton, Natalie Robertson, and Ann Noble – use their art practices to destabilise embedded ways of seeing. Curated by Vanessa Jones and Lisa Wilkie. Toured by Milford Galleries Dunedin.

Image: Therapies 1 (v), Christine Webster, C-type photograph, 2013. Courtesy of Milford Galleries Dunedin

 Afghan Girl 1984 Photo by Steve McCurry 2.5m

50 Greatest Photographs of National Geographic

22 December 2018 - 31 March 2019

National Geographic has authorised the reproduction and tour of 50 of the most recognisable and popular photographs the magazine has published in its 120-year history. This exhibition explores the hidden worlds, secret stories and amazing places on the planet through the most compelling, iconic imagery compiled. The exhibition includes, among the many recognisable images, Steve McCurry’s Afghan Girl and Nick Nichol’s The Touch featuring Jane Goodall. In addition to seeing the enhanced photos as they appeared in the magazine, visitors can hear the stories behind the photos and more about the photographers themselves. For some images, visitors are able to see the ‘near frames’ taken by the photographer: the sequence of images made in the field before and after the published picture.

Image: Afghan Girl 1984. Photo: Steve McCurry

Michael Shepherd: Reinventing History Painting

23 February - 9 June 2019

Michael Shepherd is one of our country’s most distinguished contemporary artists. Born in Hamilton in 1950, Shepherd spent his early years in Ngaaruaawahia. This Waikato upbringing has played a key role in Shepherd’s artistic career. Youthful proximity to the sites of pivotal events in New Zealand’s nineteenth-century history fuelled in Shepherd a decades-long fascination with exploring the complexities of the colonial era and its legacies. Since the 1980s, Shepherd has been producing intricate, painterly works, often in series, that engage with history and memory, mining connections between past and present, frequently on his Waikato home-turf.

Curated by Emeritus Professor Elizabeth Rankin, Department of Art History, University of Auckland, Michael Shepherd: Reinventing History Painting brings together for the first time a comprehensive selection of Shepherd’s ‘historical’ paintings from public and private collections, as well as early drawings, family photographs and mementos that shed light on his life and work.


Image: Excavating the Historical. Landscape with Historical Figure, 1992, Michael Shepherd, private collection

Tangata whenua

Te Whaanau Maarama:The Heavenly Bodies

Until 11 August 2019

Tune in to the stars! Te Whaanau Maarama shines a spotlight on modern Maaori astronomy and promotes a better understanding of the history and meaning of Matariki.

Developed in partnership with the University of Waikato, this ground-breaking exhibition examines the traditional Maaori societal view of the night sky and how it is being revitalised in the modern world. 

Supported by taonga, photographs and koorero, this exhibition will help students to explore the night sky with more knowledge and understanding. The three parts of the exhibition shine a spotlight on Maaori astronomy and the evolution of Matariki over the last 20 years. Curriculum links: Social Sciences(History), Science, Technology, Art, Mathematics.

Download the Teacher Resource booklet (PDF)

Image: Detail, Matariki over Taupiri, 2015, photograph by Erica Sinclair

Social history

Civic Lives: HCM Norris and AG Ward

9 March - 23 June 2019

Hensleigh Carthew Marryat Norris and Arthur Grenville Ward shared many passions beyond the legal firm (currently Norris Ward McKinnon) they were partners in and that still bears their names today. While from different generations, as fellow veterans of overseas military service, both men were deeply concerned with the welfare of returned soldiers. They were also determined to improve the public life of the city they loved, Hamilton. This exhibition explores the lives and careers of these two mid-twentieth century civic leaders. It highlights Norris and Ward’s many contributions to cultural and community causes, locating their stories within the broader context of Hamilton’s evolution from a sleepy regional town to a modern city. The exhibition contains photographs, objects, and audio-visual material that illustrate the remarkable lives of Norris and Ward.

Image: HCM Norris as a young man. Courtesy of Hamilton City Libraries

Waikato Bungalow

23 February - 15 May 2019

In the 1950s, homes in the Waikato looked much different than they do today. The Waikato home was in a state of flux. The shedding of war time restrictions offered families the opportunity to purchase new products while they also held onto dependable items that had endured decades of use. Explore the unique advertisements, appliances, décor, and objects from the era that turned these houses into homes.

Image: Advertisement for Queen Anne Chocolates, in Mirror magazine, August 1947, Mirror Publishing Company


The Life and Times of Scarface Claw

26 January - 12 May 2019

This exhibition celebrates Scarface Claw – the nemesis of Hairy Maclary. Explore original artworks by Dame Lynley Dodd (b. 1941), one of New Zealand’s best-loved children’s authors and illustrators, and ephemera produced and collected during her creative process. Learn how her latest book was developed from concept sketches into the finished publication. Focused education programmes include: English/ Literacy, Visual Arts, Drama, Design and Visual Communication.

  • Pre-school programme: “Look and Listen” featuring story time and exploration.
  • Primary programme: “Listen and Learn” encourages a love of reading and develops literacy skills with a guided tour of the exhibition and illustration activity.
  • Secondary programme: “Listening, Reading, and Viewing” looks at the genre of children’s books, with a guided tour of the exhibition and written composition/illustration exercise.

Image: Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy p. 28 © Lynley Dodd, 1983. Reproduced courtesy of the artist and Penguin Random House New Zealand

New Zealanders use a favourite backdrop in Egypt Collection of Richard Stowers

For Us They Fell

Until 5 May 2019

For Us They Fell is a major exhibition about the people of the Waikato and Coromandel during World War 1. Children will learn about the human side of WW1 and what life was like for soldiers and their families. Students participate in a classroom session, an exhibition tour and a practical activity before creating their own memorial memento to take home.

Image: New Zealanders in front of a favourite backdrop in Egypt. Collection of Richard Stowers.

Pre-school programmes


The Museum is a vibrant and engaging learning experience for students of all ages, and at Waikato Museum we appreciate and value our youngest visitors. We can offer a range of early childhood programmes focused on visiting exhibitions as well as our interactive science galleries Exscite and Waikato Bright Sparks. Trained teachers work with centre staff and visiting parents to provide interactive and fun programmes using music, storytelling, games and activities.                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 Teacher resources 

teacher resource

Our Teacher Resource booklets contain information to assist in the planning of classroom units. They are in PDF format and are free to download. 

These booklets ask teachers to explore any one of the four areas of interest at the museum: art, science, social history and taangatawhenua. In the booklets we suggest possible areas of study and how we can enhance your programmes by providing a comprehensive education package.

Experience Art (PDF)

Experience Science (PDF)

Explore History (PDF)

Explore Tangata Whenua (PDF)


Archived teacher resources

Early Childhood Experience Resource booklet (PDF)

Level 1 - 4 Teacher Resource Booklet

Years 9 - 13 Teacher Resource Booklet

Art In Colour

Is it Art?

Planet Warriors

Da Vinci Mechanics 

Science Big Day Out

Discovery Dash

Early Childhood Experience

Hamilton Sesquicentennial 

With Bold Needle & Thread: Rosemary McLeod Collection 

Roman Machines 

Never A Dull Moment 

Games and Play in Great Grandfather's Day  

Science Magic