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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 2018-2019 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




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. 


One hundred Horses 6

Giuseppe Castiglione: An Italian Jesuit Painter at the Court of Three Qing Emperors

13 October 2018 - 20 January 2019

Giuseppe Castiglione, aka Lang Shining (b. 1688, d. 1766) was a Jesuit missionary who became a court painter and served three Emperors of China’s Qing Dynasty during its zenith. He merged Western Renaissance techniques with Chinese materials and subjects, pioneering a new style of painting. He also successfully combined Western realism with traditional Chinese composition and brushwork. 

His work as an artist earned him such favour within the Imperial Court that upon his death he was given an Imperial Funeral in Beijing. 
His eight-metre-long One Hundred Horses (or Baijun Tu) is recognised as one of China’s greatest masterpieces. It has been described as ‘an ingenious integration’ of Western and Chinese styles. This exhibition presents 24 reproduction prints of works by Castiglione.
Waikato Museum, in partnership with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Auckland, offers this rare opportunity to view Castiglione’s unique painting style.

Image: One Hundred Horses, courtesy of the National Palace Museum, in association with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Auckland

 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


Cats, Trains and Whimsy: Exquisite Etchings by Gary Tricker

On now until 18 November 2018

Gary Tricker has been a printmaker for the last 48 years and shows no signs of stopping. Tricker has mastered all the various techniques of intaglio printmaking. He etches only onto copper plates because it produces beautifully crisp lines. As with Tricker’s love of etching, his subject matter over the decades also demonstrates his deep observations of cats, trains, landscapes and people. His works are a kind of antipodean surrealism and rich visual content, including quotes from great writers like Coleridge, Emerson and Blake among others. His works are about this world but they are also about his own private world. It is a rare privilege to be able to have a window into the whimsical artistic vision of one of our country’s most gifted intaglio printmakers.

Image: The Hobbit, Gary Tricker, Waikato Bequests Trust 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

The Ginghams Topp Twins Ltd Sally Tagg Copy

The Topp Twins: An Exhibition for New Zealand

10 November 2018 - 10 February 2019

The Topp Twins — playful, powerful and political. Synonymous with small town, rural New Zealand and that Kiwi “can-do attitude”, Lynda and Jools Topp are among New Zealand’s best-loved entertainers. They’ve been cultural touchstones for more than 40 years and their creative work continues to resonate with a broad audience across generational and political divides. Whether it’s as Camp Mother and Camp Leader, the Gingham Sisters, Westie girls Raylene and Brenda, posh socialites Prue and Dilly or the Kiwi bloke and townie combo of Ken and Ken, the Topp Twins continue to champion the communities and causes near and dear to us. While they are national treasures, the story of the Topp Twins, presented in this exhibition from the award-winning team at Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science and History in Palmerston North, is particularly meaningful for Waikato audiences given the pair’s Huntly origins.

Image: The Ginghams. Photo: Sally Tagg


The Garden Party

1 December 2018 - 3 March 2019

Katherine Mansfield (b. 1888, d. 1923) is one of New Zealand’s best-loved writers. During March 1907, her mother, Mrs Annie Beauchamp, gave a garden party at the family home located at 75 Tinakori Road, Thorndon. Sadly, as Mansfield’s biographer Antony Alpers would later write, the day was marred by a fatal street accident of a poor neighbour. Against the backdrop of the lavish garden party, Mansfield explores the themes of class-consciousness, life and death, as well as the protagonist’s Laura’s awakening to the realisation that her life is a privileged one. Written in 1921, Mansfield’s short story, The Garden Party and Other Stories, was first published in 1922. The Garden Party exhibition includes botanical studies specific to the story’s flora, the now iconic Portrait of Katherine Mansfield by Anne Estelle Rice, and a selection of editions of The Garden Party book.  The Waikato Museum exhibition coincides with the launch of the Mansfield Garden, located at the Hamilton Gardens on the banks of the magnificent Waikato River. 

Image: Corona Personal Writing Machine, 1906-13, collection of Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato


Scene on the Street: Hamilton’s CBD 1900 - 2000

On now until 25 November 2018

The CBD is the beating heart of our city. Since the 19th century, people from Hamilton and surrounding districts have come to town not only to work and do business, but to shop, eat, see plays and films, gather in support of political causes and attend civic events. This exhibition presents a selection of images, oral histories, and ephemera drawn from the Hamilton City Libraries Heritage Collection and the Waikato Museum Collection.

Image: Shoppers and workers at the Victoria Street end of Garden Place, September 1976. Courtesy of Hamilton City Libraries, HCL_M00137.5


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.

Christmas Education programme image

Putting Christmas in a Box

Now until Christmas 2018

Waikato Museum’s Christmas in a Box education programme explores the story of the Princess Mary Gift Tin, how it began and the impact it had on the men and women who served during WW1. Students will also learn about the Christmas Day Armistice, the day the war stopped for a short time because of a song.

Experience these beautiful, touching and true historic events with Waikato Museum’s Education team. As part of their experience, children will make their own Princess Mary Gift Tin to take home, explore and handle replica artefacts, and walk through our For Us They Fell exhibition. As a special Christmas treat, spend some time in our science discovery areas Exscite and Waikato Bright Sparks. 

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