Great North Museum

The Great North Museum is a visitor attraction in Newcastle upon Tyne in North East England. It features three venues: the Great North Museum: Hancock, the Hatton Gallery on the Newcastle University campus and the Regional Resource Centre[2] in the basement of the Discovery Museum. All three venues are currently open.

Great North Museum
Established1884 (Hancock)
1925 (Hatton)
2000s (Great North Museum)
LocationNewcastle upon Tyne, England
Coordinates54.98046°N 1.6131°W / 54.98046; -1.6131
TypeNatural history museum
Art museum
Visitors638,454 (2009)[1]
Public transit accessHaymarket Metro/Bus station
Great North Museum


The £26 million[3] Great North Museum project is a partnership between Newcastle University, Tyne & Wear Museums, Newcastle City Council, the Natural History Society of Northumbria and the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne.

The project was made possible with funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund, TyneWear Partnership, One NorthEast, the European Regional Development Fund, Newcastle University, Newcastle City Council, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Wolfson Foundation and The Northern Rock Foundation, as well as numerous other trusts and foundations. The building architects were Terry Farrell and Partners; Sir Terry Farrell is a native of Newcastle, and had previously been a student at Newcastle University.[4]

On 21 November 2008, the 'Be Part of It' campaign was launched, and it was announced that the Great North Museum: Hancock would be opening in 2009. Athlete Jonathan Edwards is the patron of the 'Be Part of It' campaign.[5] Donors to the campaign have the opportunity to have their name (or the name of a loved one) permanently included on a donor wall in the museum.

On 6 November 2009, HM The Queen officially opened the Great North Museum.[6] In 2009, the Great North Museum had over 600,000 visitors.[1]

The Great North Museum Library is open to the public and is located on the second floor of the Hancock. It houses three collections - the Library and Archives of the Natural History Society of Northumbria, the Library of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne and Newcastle University's Cowen Library.[7]


Great North Museum: Hancock

The Great North Museum: Hancock not only holds the collections of the former Hancock Museum and collates those of Newcastle University's Museum of Antiquities and Shefton Museum, which closed their doors in 2008.[8] The museum opened on 23 May 2009.

The natural history museum includes an interactive model of Hadrian's Wall, new displays showing diversity of the animal and plant kingdoms, objects from the Ancient Greeks and mummies from Ancient Egypt, a planetarium and a cast of a T-Rex dinosaur skeleton. The interactive Bio-Wall features hundreds of creatures, that visitors will be able to investigate and find out where they live and how they survive in such extreme places as the Arctic and Desert. There is also a full size model of an elephant, a great white shark display, polar bear and giraffe specimens from the historic Hancock collections and a moa skeleton. Also between May and October 2019 the museum hosted Dippy the dinosaur as part of its UK tour.

The university's art gallery, the Hatton Gallery is also a part of the Great North Museum Project, but is not relocating to the Hancock, and is thus remaining in Newcastle University's Fine Art Building. Its permanent collection comprises over 3,500 works, some dating back to the 14th century. These works of art include paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings. Notably, it houses the Merzbarn - the only surviving Merz construction by Kurt Schwitters.

Other logos


  1. "Visits made in 2009 to visitor attractions in membership with ALVA". Association of Leading Visitor Attractions. Archived from the original on 31 October 2010. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
  2. "Great North Museum Resource Centre". Tyne and Wear Museums. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
  3. "Great North Museum". Newcastle University. Archived from the original on 22 December 2008. Retrieved 8 December 2008.
  4. "Great North Museum project". Hadrian's Retrieved 8 December 2008.
  5. "Be Part of It". Great North Museum. 21 November 2008. Retrieved 8 December 2008.
  6. "Royal opening for Great North Museum". Newcastle University. 6 November 2009. Retrieved 6 November 2009.
  7. "Great North Museum Library". Great North Museum. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  8. "Last chance to visit University Museums". Newcastle University. 14 April 2008. Retrieved 24 April 2008.
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