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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.

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. 


 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

28 September - 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. 


 SetWidth288 Vasanti image

Painted Stories: New Zealand Children's Book Illustrators

On now until 23 September 2018

Within the genre of children’s storybook publishing, a picture really does paint a thousand words. The illustrator’s role in this genre of writing is like the nectar on a flower that attracts the bee. The visual interpretative power of the image draws the inquiring mind deeper into the story.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, we are fortunate to have numerous award-winning local and internationally acclaimed book illustrators in our midst. Painted Stories features some of our most famous: Lynley Dodd, Gavin Bishop, Fraser Williamson, Jenny Cooper, Trevor Pye, Pamela Allen, Philip Webb, Ruth Paul, Robyn Belton, Donavan Bixley, David Elliot, Christine Ross, Brian Lovelock, Ali Teo, Bob Kerr, Sandra Morris, Patrick Macdonald, Phoebe Morris, Vasanti Unka and Chris Slane.

Book now for our special Storytime education programme.

Developed by the Painted Stories NZ Children's Literature Preservation Charitable Trust.

Image: Stripes! No, Spots!, Vasanti Unka, published by Penguin Random House New Zealand, 2015


 Alien Crop2

Tom Scott Cartoon Reworks: The Earth Edition

On now until 28 October 2018

Auckland-based photographer and visual artist Mardo El-Noor uses his gift of digital wizardry to reinterpret a selection of cartoons by Tom Scott, arguably New Zealand’s most renowned cartoonist. El-Noor pays homage to the satirical genius of Tom Scott and draws attention to Scott’s broader importance as a commentator on issues of global warming and humanity’s polluting ways. El-Noor is the first visual artist to create digital interpretations of Scott’s work. This intimate exhibition highlights the masterfully crafted works of El-Noor, in which digital pays homage to analogue, art refers to art and El-Noor refers to Scott.

Image: Detail, Alien, Mardo El-Noor, 2016


Cropped Ida

Ida Carey: A Contemporary Viewing

On now until 7 October 2018

Ida Harriet Carey (1891-1982) was a significant figure in the Waikato art scene. She spent the majority of her working career based in Hamilton and in 1934 was instrumental in initiating the formation of the Waikato Arts Society. Carey is often remembered for the numerous late-career portraits she painted of Maaori women with moko. However, Carey’s oeuvre is much larger than just these paintings, and this exhibition explores the many other subjects she painted over her long career, both at home and abroad. Each work in the exhibition is exhibited alongside a companion piece made by other New Zealand women artists. These comparative works position Carey within New Zealand’s art history and give a greater understanding of Carey’s work. The 2018 Suffrage125 commemoration is timely to acknowledge Carey’s contribution to the Waikato, and in turn New Zealand’s art history. 

Image: Detail, Self Portrait with Hat and Shawl (1943), Ida Carey, oil on canvas, collection of Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato, gifted by the artist in 1980

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 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


 JPEG Crop

Elle and the Youthquake: The Changing Face of Fashion

On now until 14 October 2018

Diana Vreeland, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue magazine, said in the 1960s: “Young designers are taking over and setting the trends – it’s a “Youthquake!” Right here in Hamilton, 21-year-old Wendy Ganley established the fashion label Elle, proving that youthful confidence could change the face of fashion. In 1964, she opened the doors to her boutique and paved the way for other young designers to fully express identity through fashion. The Youthquake story continues in New Zealand, with young designers showcasing New Zealand fashion on the world stage. Elle and the Youthquake celebrates an original young fashion mover, shaker and maker.

Developed and curated by New Zealand Fashion Museum.

Image: Turquoise culotte suit modelled by Susan Devereux. Photo by Mary-Ann Crawford for Waikato Pix, 22 April 1966, collection of Wendy Hall. Image courtesy of New Zealand Fashion Museum.


Jane Austen Brochure Image Cropped

Be Persuaded: A Jane Austen Experience

On now until 14 October 2018

To mark the 200th anniversary of her passing, Dressing Australia Museum of Costume has designed a rare and wonderful exhibition bringing Jane Austen to life in original fashion of the era. Be Persuaded follows Austen’s life - and the unforgettable characters she created - from growing up in the 18th century into the era most associated with her -  the Regency era at the beginning of the 19th century. Be Persuaded features rare fashion, accessories and ephemera from the 18th century when Austen was born, through to the 1840s, when Jane’s beloved sister Cassandra died.

Image: Engraved portrait of Jane Austen. Courtesy of Dressing Australia Museum of Costume/Shutterstock


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 Milk Matters. 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