Education programmes are available from 8.30am to 5pm every weekday during school terms. 

Advance bookings are required for programmes with our Education Officers. This ensures availability, and gives us time to tailor our programme to suit your learning outcomes and class needs.

Please don't hesitate to contact us for further information.

Contact the Education team

Phone: 03 474 7470

If you're coming for a self-guided visit, please let us know so we can ensure the galleries or exhibitions you require are available. The Otago Museum is open 10am to 5pm every day except Christmas Day.


We have limited parking at the Museum, mainly due to our location opposite the University. There is a park for buses at the front of the Museum Reserve on Albany Street, but unfortunately no allocated car parking.

Entering the Museum

All class groups should enter the Museum through the front entrance off the Museum Reserve. Please settle your students down in front of the sunfish and then approach the Information Desk where our friendly Communicator will assist you to sign in. You will be asked to note the numbers and levels of your students for our data recording. 


All levels of the Museum are accessible by wheelchairs. If you require any assistance for you or your students, please let us know in advance so we can be prepared.

School bags

We have limited storage for school bags and would appreciate if these could be restricted to needs only. School bags and lunches can be stored in our luggage trolley, if available.

Food and drink

We are happy to provide an indoor space for your students to have morning tea or lunch if the weather is not conducive to a picnic! However, please let us know in advance so we can make sure a suitable space is available. We do have a great café if you wish to buy food and drink. If this is likely to be needed by a large number of your group, please let us know so we can alert our Café staff. 


Personal cameras may be used in all the galleries and most special exhibitions, unless forbidden by the exhibition producers.

Accompanying adults

We value adult participation in our education experiences. Class groups are required to be accompanied by a minimum number of adults to assist with the supervision and safe movement of the students, but most importantly to maximize the students’ learning experience by assisting during the small group work.

  • Secondary: 1 adult to every 10 students
  • Primary and intermediate: 1 adult to every 6 students
  • Early childhood and preschool: 1 adult to every 4 children

Health and safety guidelines

The safety of you and your students is of paramount importance to us during your Museum visit. All Education Officers are trained in first aid and safe evacuation procedures.

Adventure through the Museum, celebrate in our party room, spend the night at the Museum or have breakfast with the butterflies! Choose your favourite party option from the list below.

Maximizing learning

Research shows that student learning in museums is maximized if:

  • Teachers are familiar with the museum and plan for the social aspects of learning, encouraging students to talk, share ideas and ask lots of questions about what they are seeing, hearing and touching.
  • The visit is integrated into a broader body of student learning and follow-up, and reflective sessions are held to consolidate the learning.
  • Students are prepared for the visit by establishing their prior knowledge and helping them to understand key concepts which will be covered.
  • Students are encouraged to think about what they want to learn.
  • Students are encouraged to share their findings in some way.

Class discussion

We recommend preparing your class by discussing the following points:

  • Museums have an important role in society. They collect, preserve and conserve, share and inform communities about the world around us, in past and present times. Why is this important?
  • The Otago Museum is a unique community environment where students can learn about and experience treasured artefacts and events from the past, and explore discoveries and ideas that shape our world in the present. The Otago Museum takes great care to preserve its collection to share with current and future generations.
  • While the Museum is a place for enjoyment and learning, students need to be aware that many Museum objects are irreplaceable and/or treasures gifted by families, and often priceless, so it is expected that students will not run or act inappropriately with and around Museum objects. Discuss how they might feel if someone came to their house and acted inappropriately, thus putting their ‘treasures’ at risk. Then, lead them to understand that the Otago Museum is ‘their place’ – as it belongs to the Otago community.
  • Although the Museum is not a place to whisper or tip-toe, as a public place students are expected to be considerate of other people through their manners and noise levels. Reinforce that, while the students are in the Museum, they are to continue to follow school rules and behaviours.
  • During your Museum visit, your students’ learning experiences will be guided by a Museum Education Officer. This person is qualified and highly knowledgeable about Museum objects, displays and themes. Encourage your students to show them the same respect and courtesy they do their teachers, in order to maximise the learning and enjoyment of the visit.
  • Please also ensure your adult helpers are aware and willing to assist the students with their learning, as this will also optimise the learning value of the visit.
  • If your students are not regular Museum visitors, you may like to make time either at the beginning or end of your education session, to take them around the other galleries of the Museum and discuss the value of the Museum as a place of learning and fun for all ages.