What is the Great North Museum: Hancock? 

Formerly The Hancock Museum, the Great North Museum is an awesome (and FREE) family day out in Newcastle. The museum has tons of galleries, displays and exhibitions. As well as lots of incredible activities for children to enjoy. 

What can I see at the Great North Museum?

Here at Eric, we’ve compiled some info on the most current galleries and displays on show at The Great North Museum: Hancock:

Living Planet

This one’s for you animal lovers out there. The Living Planet Gallery can be found on the first floor of The Great North Museum. It’s a winding journey of wildlife, taking you on a tour through our planet’s varied and wonderful habitats. Travel the world and take a tour of the awe-inspiring animal kingdom!

This gallery also includes the amazing Where did all the Animals Go? exhibition. Sift your way through 700 beautiful drawings from children, both local and international. They’ve had their say about endangered species. And it’s impressive and thought provoking. 

Hadrian’s Wall Gallery  

Also on the first floor of the Great North Museum: Hancock is the Hadrian’s Wall Gallery. Search through a host of archaeological finds from across Hadrian’s Wall and discover the walls’ fascinating history. 

 And, whilst you’re there, why not enjoy the Roman Britain in Colour Display? Take in the stunning recreation that shows how 7 Roman Altars were brightly coloured. 

Fossil Stories Gallery

The Fossil Stories Gallery is another ground floor go-to. 

See how fossils tell the story of major changes to animals, plants, and the world we now know from millions of years ago. The Great North Museum: Hancock boasts internationally famous fossils and a huge range of realistic models. Including an awesome T-rex replica. Sign me up! 

Amongst the many treasures in this gallery is the Crystals and Gems Display. This truly is a stunning sensory experience. Watch gorgeous gems from across the world sparkle and find out about the world beneath your feet. 

Natural Northumbria Gallery

 The Great North Museum: Hancock also takes pride in local wildlife. And that’s displayed in the fantastic Natural Northumbria Gallery. Here, you can explore the North-East’s unique animal and plant life

Ancient Egypt Gallery

Found on the first floor, the Ancient Egyptian Gallery is a special part of the Great North Museum. 

 It hosts a huge variety of ancient Egyptian objects, as well as a vast number of perfectly preserved artefacts. Including stone statues, coffins and 2 mummies. 

Within this gallery, you can also find the Roman Empire Display. There are oodles of Roman artefacts on show to give you a taste of life in the Roman Empire. 

Ancient Greek Gallery 

From Ancient Egyptians to Ancient Greeks. This gallery contains incredible Ancient Greek and Ancient Italian art and Archaeology. There’s even a huge pot that’s big enough to hide inside! 

Eric Knows Tip: I know it’s tempting but try not to use the pot as a hiding spot for family hide & seek. I’m not sure the museum would appreciate it! 

Ice Age to Iron Age Gallery

Take a journey across the ages. From Ice Age to Stone Age and then, to the Bronze and Iron Ages. 

The Ice Age to Iron Age Gallery is another dive into a distant world through artwork, artefacts, and ancient tools. 

World Culture Gallery

Alternatively, take a tour across different world cultures. The World Cultures Gallery offers the Great North Museum’s most colourful collection of objects from around the world. From feather headdresses to the fearsome armour of a Samurai warrior. See what oddities you can find! 

Explore! Gallery 

The Explore! Gallery is the “mystery box” of the Great North Museum. This corner of the museum is a true mishmash of collectables. It houses tribal drums, ancient flints and… modern flip-flops? You have to see it to believe it. 

What else can I do at the Great North Museum: Hancock?

Venture the Universe in the Planetarium 

One of the most exciting features of the Great North Museum is its incredible planetarium. Kids (and big adult kids) can unlock their inner astronaut. Search for alien life, tour the solar system and travel to the international space station. 

 All this for under £3 per person for a 15-minute show. Plus, children under 3 get in for free and The Great North Museum offers group discounts!

Let your child run wild in the Mouse House

If you’re looking for something to entertain your youngest, The Mouse House is where it’s at. Situated on the ground floor of the museum, The Mouse House hosts exciting activities for young children and families. Head on over to the Great North Museum’s site to find out about upcoming events.

Have Lunch at the Hancock Cafe or Picnic on the Museum’s Front Lawn 

Of course, there has to be a place to refuel. The Hancock Cafe is located on the first floor of the museum and offers a range of light refreshments. This includes hot drinks, cakes, toasties, and children’s lunch boxes! And the cafe is open every day. 

In summer, the Great North Museum’s front lawn is perfect for a family picnic. They also have a designated pack lunch space during the school holidays.

Take a Virtual Tour

If you can’t make it to the building, for whatever reason, don’t sweat it. The museum offers 6 3D virtual tours of exhibitions, galleries, and stores. This gets a thumbs-up from Eric for accessibility!  

Lose Yourself in the Study Library

What is any museum without a really cool library? The Great North Museum: Hancock unique library, located on the 2nd floor, is open to everyone. No membership needed! 

From 10am-2pm Monday-Thursday, you can dig through archives of the Natural History Society of Northumbria. Or use it for personal study.

Get Married Next to a T-Rex

You heard that right. The Great North Museum also doubles as a wedding venue. It has a range of spaces available for the quirky wedding of your dreams. Fancy getting married next to a giant great white shark or t-rex. Check out their listing here

Looking for a venue for a different kind of celebration? The museum also hosts corporate events, Christmas celebrations and children’s birthday parties. 


Accessible Entrances 

  • The Great North Museum: Hancock front entrance has power assisted doors. This entrance is accessible via two ways that provide level access into the building: 
  1. There is an accessible ramp on the left side of the building. This has two accessible routes: one from Claremont Road and one at the front left corner of the museum. 
  2. The museum also has a lift with power assisted door. This takes wheelchair users right to the front entrance  However, this route is currently out of service until September 2022. This is due to maintenance work. Although we will let you know when this route has re-opened! 

Disabled Parking 

  • For blue badge holders, there are 4 disabled parking bays at the front of the museum. However, 2 of these bays are out of service until September 2022. 
  • If all disabled bays are taken, the main reception is happy to help find a space in the staff car park

Accessible toilets

  • The Great North Museum has accessible toilets on the ground, 1st and 2nd floors. 
  • The accessible toilet located on the ground floor has a shower with a seat and an adult changing table.
  • On the ground floor of the museum, you can find family toilets
  • The family toilet also has baby changing facilities. Baby changing facilities are also available in the male and female toilets on both the ground and first floors. 

Getting around inside of the building 

  • The building has lifts that provide access to all floors. All lifts in the Great North Museum have voice announcers and Braille indicators.
  • The Museum’s Library is also accessible by lift.
  • Each floor has level access. 
  • Stairs in the museum have raised tactile indicators on the underside of the handrails. As well as contrasting nosings.

Autism-friendly information

  • For quieter visits, Great North Museum: Hancock recommends avoiding peak times for school visits. This is usually between 10am and 2.30pm during term time. 
  • If you’re looking for autism-friendly outings, the museum offers relaxed days during school holidays. Check out their What’s On page to see when they are. 
  • Ear defenders (both adult and children sizes) and sensory bags are available at the front desk. Although it’s advised that you contact the museum in advance to book these. 
  • The Museum has their own visual story for Neurodivergent visitors. 

Other Accessibility Information

  • The Museum welcomes breastfeeding in all areas . Although if you’re looking for somewhere private, there’s a breastfeeding area in the World Cultures gallery.
  • There is bench seating located outside the main entrance. As well as in the following galleries for those with mobility issues: (Living Planet, Ancient Greeks, Fossil Stories, Ice Age to Iron Age, Ancient Egypt, and Mouse House). 
  • If you need a wheelchair, the museum has one available at the Reception Desk.
  • Other accessibility items can be borrowed from the front desk. This includes magnifying sheets, torches, coloured overlay reading rulers, wheelchair lap trays
  • The Great North Museum: Hancock welcomes assistance dogs. You can ask their reception desk to keep your furry friend topped with a bowl of water
  • Induction points are fitted at The Reception Desk, cafes and interactive points in the galleries. 
  • There are a number of audio points across The Great North Museum. This includes subtitled videos with accompanying BSL. As well as audio points in the Hadrian’s Wall gallery have text versions on the panels. 
  • The fire alarms have voice evacuation sounders and visual flashing lights
  • Both lifts are fire evacuation lifts. Museum staff will provide assistance in an emergency.
  • If the lift is out of action, evac chairs are available. 

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