The Art Gallery and Museum provides fun and interactive learning programmes to suit school groups of all ages. School visits are tailored to meet the needs of students through facilitated discussions, hands-on activities and engagement with real experiences. Contact our educator to book your visit.


The Art of the Letter

Exhibition: The Art of the Letter

Dates: 9 September – 26 November 2023 (Term 3 Week 9 – Term 4 Week 7)

Curriculum Links: English, History, Social Sciences

Time: 60-90 minutes

Explore the social history of our district through the letters, diaries and written records that have been preserved in the Ashburton Museum’s archive and understand the importance of these primary sources in interpreting our past.

Your students will:

Explore | The use of primary and secondary sources when researching, understanding and writing about our history
Learn | Learn how to locate, evaluate and decipher first-hand accounts and original historical records
Create | Write a description of an object in our collection using letters, diaries and photographs from our archive


The Great Haulage Feat 1905-06 - The Removal of the Wakanui Mill

Exhibition: The Great Haulage Feat 1905-06 – The Removal of the Wakanui Mill

Dates: 23 September - 03 December 2023 (Term 4 Week 1 – Term 4 Week 8)

Curriculum Links: Technology, Mathematics, History

Time: 60-90 minutes

At nearly 16.5 metres tall and weighing 260 tonnes, the huge wooden Wakanui Flour Mill was hauled 10.5km from its original site at Wakanui to the corner of Kermode Street West over 18 working days. Two traction engines pulled the building forward with the help of hard wood rollers, 10cm in diameter, laid over tramway tracks under the building. Discover the incredible innovation and technology used to make this massive move almost 120 years ago.

Your students will: 

Explore | The resourceful ingenuity of past Ashburtonians

Learn | About the size, weight and logistics involved in this move

Create | Create a replica model of the Wakanui Flour Mill to use in a large scale game about this great haulage feat

Iain cheesman edited-1

Iain Cheesman's Nurture Nature

ExhibitionNurture Nature

Curriculum Links: Visual Arts, Social Sciences, English

Dates: 19 October – 03 December 2023 (Term 4 Week 2 – Term 4 Week 8)

Time: 60-90 minutes

Nurture Nature celebrates the enjoyment in the simplest activities in the environment around us. Birds feature prominently in the body of work displayed in this exhibition; the artist is a bird watcher and hopes that eventually we will all become bird watchers or nature observers. Art watching is similar to bird watching, it is about looking and thinking about what we see and understand, what is real or possible in our world. This exhibition includes painting that sits alongside embroidery, sculpture that sits with taxidermy, and objects that sit with poetry.

Your students will: 

Explore | The artist’s creative process and how it evolved

Learn | About the juxtaposition of various ideas and media

Create | A bird painting with varied textures using watercolour techniques



Saskia Bunce-Rath’s eating stars together at dusk

Exhibition: eating stars together at dusk

Curriculum Links: Visual Arts

Dates: 19 October – 10 December 2023 (Term 4 Week 2 – Term 4 Week 9)

Time: 60-90 minutes

Saskia Bunce-Rath is a graduate of the Master’s programme at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts. As an artist and poet, she explores mood and quasi-narratives through her depictions of ethereal creatures wandering in imagined lands. She mixes text and painterly compositions to further deepen her unearthly atmospheres. Texture, surreality and definition is built into her works through a bright use of textiles and thread.

Your students will:

Explore | The wonderful, surreal lands in Saskia’s artworks and how these works can be interpreted

Learn | About the power of creating an image to tell a story

Create | Create a character and illustrated story using a variety of textiles and techniques


Suffrage in Stitches

Exhibition: Suffrage in Stitches

Curriculum Links: Social Sciences, History, Visual Arts

Dates: 02 December – 18 February 2024 (Term 4 Week 7 – Term 1 Week 2)

Time: 60-90 minutes

The Women’s Suffrage Petition led to New Zealand becoming the first country in the world where all women gained the right to vote in general elections, thanks to the many women who created, organised and signed the petition.

The 300 metre textile work displayed in the Suffrage in Stitches exhibition remembers ordinary people in our history who did this extraordinary thing. Suffrage in Stitches has provided the opportunity for 546 individuals, families and groups to display their art regardless of their education, background, age or experience/skill level.

Your students will:

Explore | The significance of the women’s suffrage petition in New Zealand women gaining the right to vote in 1893

Learn | About the Ashburton women who signed the petition

Create | Create an embroidered textile panel that tells part of the story of this historic moment in New Zealand history

Tell us your interests

Do you have an idea for a learning programme at Ashburton Art Gallery and Museum?

Our educator can design a creative learning experience tailored to the needs and interests of your early childhood, primary and secondary school groups. Simply, contact us with your idea and we will work together to create a programme for your students.

Planning a visit

All materials for workshops at the Gallery and Museum and at schools will be provided unless stated otherwise. School visits will require schools to provide a projector and full classroom space.

For visiting the Gallery and Museum, we recommend organising an adult to student ratio of:

– 1:5 for Years 0-3

– 1:8 for Years 4-8

– 1:15 for Years 9-10

– 1:30 for Years 11-13

If would be helpful if teachers are able to carry a class register in the case of an emergency.

Arriving at the Gallery and Museum:
The Ashburton Art Gallery and Museum is located on 327 West Street. The Gallery is situated on the first floor and the Museum is on the ground floor. If you are planning to arrive before 10:00am, please inform a Gallery and Museum staff member so they are able to let you into the building. The doors automatically open at 10:00am. For everyone’s enjoyment please ensure that students demonstrate respect to our other visitors.

Help us protect the exhibitions at the Gallery and Museum:
If possible we would advise leaving bags at school, however, if necessary bags can be left in the Learning Centre on arrival. Food and drink are not permitted in the Gallery and Museum spaces. However, food can be consumed in the Learning Centre area if needed. No pens or sharp objects are allowed in the Gallery and Museum spaces. Please let the Gallery and Museum staff know if you wish to photograph the artwork, teachers are more than welcome to take pictures of their students in the Gallery and Museum spaces and Learning Centre. Please emphasise to students the importance of not touching any artworks or objects on display. We don’t mind talking and noise in the Gallery and Museum but for safety reasons, we do not allow running in the foyer or exhibition spaces.

Risk Assessment and Management (RAMs):
Please download and read.

Gallery and Museum staff love documenting school visits so please advise us if your students do not wish to be photographed.

Book a visit