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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. 



Albin Martin: Pastoralist

17 May - 18 August 2019

For more than three decades after emigrating to New Zealand from England in 1851, Albin Martin (b. 1812 d. 1888) was a fixture in the colony’s fledgling art world. Martin achieved renown as both a ‘father of art’ in the greater Auckland region, and as an evocative interpreter of upper North Island landscapes, including Waikato locations. As well as an artist, Martin was also a farmer and briefly a politician. This exhibition features a selection of Martin’s oil paintings, watercolours and drawings. It situates his life and art within the context of colonial society and in relation to key contemporaries and mentors.

Image: Waikato Landscape, Albin Martin, Trust Waikato Art and Taonga Collection


Melvin Day: A Modernist Perspective

22 June - 6 October 2019

In late 2015, Melvin N Day, then in his 92nd year, decided he would like to leave a significant group of his paintings to Waikato Museum as a legacy to Hamilton, the city of his birth.  Sadly, Melvin died in January 2016 before his wish could be realised but later that year, the executors of the late artist’s estate followed his intent and gifted Waikato Museum 60 works spanning nearly 80 years of Day’s painting practice.

Melvin Day: A Modernist Perspective presents the most extensive selection of Day’s paintings ever to be exhibited at one time. The majority of works will be drawn from the Day gift in Waikato Museum’s collection supplemented by loans from major public institutions and private lenders.

Visitors to this exhibition will begin their exploration of Day’s life-long art practice looking at works on paper dating back to his early teenage years while a part-time student at Elam School of Fine Art, Auckland. These will be followed chronologically by key paintings from each successive decade, concluding with large modernist landscapes of Fiordland painted just a few years before his death.

Curated by Mark Hutchins-Pond.

Image: Still Life with Fruit and Chalice, 1955, Melvin Day. Collection of Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato. Artwork conservation treatment funded by Waikato Decorative & Fine Arts Society

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


Te Manawa o te Whaariki: To honour Te Manawa o te Whaariki, we honour the weavers

6 July - 1 September 2019

Te Manawa o te Whaariki is the biennial membership exhibition of Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa (the National Weavers Collective), hosted in partnership with the Waikato weavers' roopu, Ngaa Hua o te Rito.

Established in 1983 Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa sought to revive the traditional arts of weaving. Today, the selected taonga (treasures) of this exhibition evidence their mission, “to nurture, develop and preserve the techniques and tikanga of raranga, whatu and taaniko in traditional and modern contexts”.

Image: Papatuuaanuku, Jude Te Punga Nelson, Te Aati Awa

Social history

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Cut! Costume and the Cinema

13 April - 21 July 2019

Waikato Museum is the exclusive New Zealand venue for Cut! Costume and the Cinema, a dazzling exhibition showcasing five centuries of fashion and style as worn by some of Hollywood’s biggest names. Toured by Exhibits Development Group out of Minnesota, USA, Cut! Costume and the Cinema features 43 costumes from 25 films starring the likes of Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Kate Winslet, Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Nicole Kidman, Robert Downey Jr and Daniel Craig. Visitors will be up close and personal with Captain Jack Sparrow’s pirate outfit, gowns from Phantom of the Opera, Sherlock Holmes’ bohemian suit, Jane Eyre’s wedding dress as well as a feast of royal attire. Hamilton will be the only city outside of North America to host this celebration of big-screen glamour and period dress.

Presented by Exhibits Development Group in cooperation with Cosprop, Ltd., London, England

Image: Johnny Depp (as Jack Sparrow), Orlando Bloom (as Will Turner) in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003). Image courtesy of Photofest

Shaping Hamilton Huringa Kirikiriroa

15 June 2019 - 12 September 2021

Maps, historical artefacts, art, photographs and installations tell the story of the changing demographic and geographic shape of Hamilton.

The place we now know as Hamilton has been shaped by many layers of human intervention, changed forever by iwi agriculture, military officers, bridge-builders, and university students. Few of the features of Hamilton as we find them today are here by chance.

The exhibition traces key events that altered the geography and demography of the city, focusing on the decisions that shaped our region. You can position yourself in the shoes of the decision-makers who influenced its past at ‘voting stations’, and vote for the direction you would choose at each juncture.

The exhibition positions human agency at the heart of our history, welcoming visitors to reflect on their own role in creating their city’s future.

Image: City of Hamilton district plan map, 1963. Collection of Hamilton City Libraries 832.141 EDC


Let Me Be Myself: The Life Story of Anne Frank

22 June - 8 September 2019

Exploring the life of young Anne Frank and her family, as they face the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany and the events surrounding the Holocaust, this exhibition covers the story from Anne’s birth in 1929 up to her death in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945. This travelling exhibition aims to inform young people about this terrible history and challenges them to explore subjects like identity, prejudice, and discrimination. These themes are further explored through the experiences of six contemporary young people who are also challenged by being different.

The Anne Frank House launched this exhibition as the successor of the acclaimed exhibition, Anne Frank: A History for Today, which was shown at Waikato Museum in 2011.

Toured by the ANNE FRANK STICHTING Foundation with the support of The Holocaust Centre of New Zealand


Unassuming Vessels: The Artistry of Yixing Zisha Teapots

29 June - 22 September 2019

Tea has played a significant role in Chinese culture for thousands of years. Not only is it a staple beverage, but the manner and means of how it is served are important rituals carried out across Chinese society. Showcasing the collection of Hamiltonian Andrew Chan, this exhibition presents one aspect of Chinese tea culture; the Yixing Zisha teapots. Yixing is a region of the Jiangsu Province in central-eastern China where the Zisha teapots are produced. Made from the region’s special Zisha clay, the most prized and valuable teapots are handmade by skilled artists using traditional tools. A handmade teapot is unique to any other and will, through use, develop its own character to enhance the flavour, colour and aroma of the tea to be enjoyed. To a tea connoisseur, this could mean that the teapot will only ever serve one type of tea for its entire life.

Image: Frog Lotus Seed Pot, Jiang Rong, courtesy of the Chan family

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