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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


A Sweeter Ride and Other Works by Paul Judd b. 1950 d. 2016

26 January - 12 May 2019

For Paul Judd, making art was the ‘sweetest ride’.  Planes, boats, and caryatids; Judd’s art is loaded with imagery that he absorbed during his travels all over Europe, Asia, North Africa, and from his life in Aotearoa New Zealand. He developed a deep appreciation of classical Greek architecture, philosophy, and mythology. Signifiers of freedom and journeying, especially air and sea craft, found their place in Judd’s visual language. The process of nurturing an idea and working with it over time is obvious in Judd’s practice. If you look carefully, you can see the connections between the more abstracted works as they move toward the figurative. Sadly, in January 2016, Judd’s ride ended. This exhibition is part survey, part memorial.


Image: A Sweeter Ride, Paul Judd, Trust Waikato Art and Taonga Collection

Michael Shepherd: Reinventing History Painting

3 May - 30 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

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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

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

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