UNE Natural History Museum Education Program

The UNE Natural History Museum is the only one of its kind in northern NSW. A visit to the museum is an opportunity for students to engage with objects from the UNE zoological, botanical and geological collections and understand something of the human desire to collect, document and preserve life on earth. The Natural History Museum is open for 30 minute expert-guided tours for groups of 10-30 people between 9:30am and 4:30pm Monday to Friday.

Exploratory Activities

For larger groups, including school and education-focused visits, we also offer a choice of six, 45 minute exploratory activities for groups of up to 30 students from preschool age through to Year 10. We can cater for two groups (~60 students) in concurrent activities.

Book up to 30 students into one of three activities developed exclusively for the Natural History Museum:

  • Adaptive Arthropods
  • Species and Symmetry
  • Form and Function

Or experience a UNE Discovery Voyager activity in the museum. Choose from:

  • Living Latin
  • Science Meets Art
  • Palaeontology Puzzles

All activities are aligned to the NSW school curriculum, and make use of specimens and displays in the museum to encourage students to explore and discover the museum more deeply than is afforded by a tour alone. See the one-page alignment and outcomes documents below.


30 minute tours through the Natural History Museum are free. Exploratory activities are $5 per student.


Bookings are essential for both tours and exploratory activities. Please contact the Museum Manager via email (click here) to make a booking.

Current activities


Animals have features that allow them to fit perfectly into their little corner of the world. Close observation allows us to understand more about how animals fit so well into nature. In this activity, we delve into the Natural History Museum collections to examine arthropods to understand how these animals work, what makes them so special, and why they are one of the most successful groups on Earth.


Animals have two very different sides to them: the outside that we see when we observe them in nature, and the inside; which usually is not seen. However, in a museum, both of these sides to animals can be observed next to each other. We can explore the relationships between the outer appearance, and ecology of animals, and their skeleton using specimens in our Natural History Museum.


There are millions of plants and animals on our planet, and scientists organise living things into different groups based on physical similarities to make sense of their function and evolution. These groups are given standardised names, making it easy for scientists all over the world to identify and properly classify plants and animals no matter what language they speak or where in the world they live.


Bones, fossils and artefacts buried in our earth tell us stories of the past. They provide us with puzzles to solve and make sense of history, telling us a lot about biology, art, geology, evolution and much more. Palaeontology is the study of the history of life on Earth, based on fossils. We can study these fossils to develop an understanding of different elements of both extinct and extant organisms.


Illustrations play a very important role in Science, as they can communicate processes, depict things that no longer exist (for example, dinosaurs), or features that are difficult to observe in nature. Photographs sometimes show too much; an illustration on the other hand can highlight key items, while dimming or even eliminating superfluous features.


We are surrounded by natural beauty that, if observed with an innocent curiosity, can help us understand our place in the world. In this activity, we immerse ourselves in natural history and use specimens in our Natural History Museum to help explain relationships between species and those distinctive features that tell us something about each one.