Enjoy a fun family day out where kids can play and learn! A small gem of a museum in Newcastle NSW, Newcastle Museum provides visitors with the opportunity to learn more about the region’s history.
Compared to other museums, Newcastle Museum isn’t large but it’s packed with lots of interesting exhibits. With free admission, it’s worth a visit. You’ll find it in Honeysuckle in the heart of the city.
As admission to the museum is free, a visit makes for a fun excursion It’s especially popular with families as there’s loads to keep kids of all ages occupied. On a rainy day, you’ll find lots of parents with babies, toddlers and preschoolers here.
Newcastle Museum Mininova
For toddlers, there is a small indoor play area called Mininova featuring plenty of equipment and soft mats to keep them safe while they toddle around.
Newcastle Museum Supernova
For older kids, the interactive Supernova science exhibits will keep children entertained as well as educate them on science. There’s all kinds of interesting subjects to learn about including magnets, velocity, vacuums and much more.
Want the kids to learn about pulleys and then brag about being able to lift a car? Have a go at lifting this old car!
Those interested in history will enjoy the Newcastle exhibition which educates visitors on the history of the region including the role of coal and steelmaking as well as the lives of early settlers.
BHP Steelmaking Show
If you’re interested in Newcastle’s industry, don’t miss the 6 minute BHP Steelmaking Show featuring special sound and smoke effects. The hourly light and sound show is the centerpiece of the Fire and Earth exhibition.
Against a backdrop of industrial machinery, this six-minute show replicates the gritty atmosphere of a steelworks complete with its deafening noise. It’s quite an experience. Visitors can watch steel pour from the furnace into a 75 ton ladle before the ladle transits across the room.
Steelmaking was once a dominant industry employing 11,000 people and producing two million tons of steel a year. When the BHP Steelworks closed in 1999 after 84 years of operation, it irrevocably changed the city and its people but also provided an unexpected windfall. Upon its exit, BHP donated $2.5 million, the largest ever sum to a regional museum. This money was earmarked for an exhibition, which captured the BHP steelmaking experience.
With this gift, Newcastle Museum commissioned an innovative feature ‘Big Harry’s Place’, a moving account of life at the steelworks. Research for the project involved reviewing the steelworks history, visiting Bluescope Steelworks at Port Kembla and interviewing ex-BHP workers. Employees and BHP also donated objects including uniforms, equipment and photos which are on display.
Have a seat in the old tram carriage which was once part of Newcastle’s thriving tram network.
To learn more about Newcastle, spend some time in the Newcastle Story area. You’ll learn about the 1989 Newcastle Earthquake, the history of famous Beaumont Street as well as Novocastrians (Newcastle residents) who have made their mark. Go into the room and see memorabilia from famous residents including Mark Richards and Ray Baartz.
To the left of this wall, is a wall where kids (and parents) can move around magnets on a Newcastle backdrop. They’ll have fun moving around coal ships, iconic buildings and transport.
Newcastle Museum Events
Every Tuesday (except in school holidays) from 10:30am – 11am, the Museum hosts Tuesday Tales where Museum staff and invited guests do readings from a range of children’s books. Tuesday Tales is free and you don’t need to book ahead. However, children must be supervised by adults during the event.
The Museum also offers great school holiday fun so be sure to check out their website. The free Science Shows are always a popular event during the holidays. During the holidays, Newcastle Museum is open 7 days a week.
Don’t leave Newcastle Museum without visiting Newcastle Shop. It offers a range of Newcastle books and souvenirs including those made by local artists and artisans.
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm. Open seven days during school holidays.
Cost: Free. Additional costs for special exhibitions
Address: Workshop Way, Newcastle, NSW 2300
Phone: 02 4974 1400