Rutherford’s Den


Today's Hours 10.00AM - 3.00PM
  • Monday 10.00AM – 3.00PM
  • Thursday 10.00AM – 3.00PM
  • Friday 10.00AM – 3.00PM
  • Saturday 10.00AM – 3.00PM
  • Sunday 10.00AM – 3.00PM

Clock Tower, Worcester Boulevard


Follow in the footsteps of one of the greatest scientists of all time, New Zealander Ernest, Lord Rutherford.

Rutherford’s Den is more than a museum. It’s a whole world of science, history, discovery and wonder brought to life through exciting multi-sensory displays and hands-on experiences set in a stunning heritage building.

Housed in the Clock Tower, the den is home to the actual rooms where Rutherford, the father of nuclear physics, studied while a student at Canterbury College (now the University of Canterbury), including a restored Victorian lecture theatre.

Television, radio, sonar and telephones – these are just some of the great inventions we enjoy today thanks to the scientific discoveries Rutherford and his peers made.

Free entry

Starting on Saturday 24 October the Rutherford's Den exhibition will be free to the public, and open Thursday to Monday (closed on Tuesday and Wednesday). To enter the exhibition, please ask Den staff in the Clock Tower foyer for access.

Please note, there is no longer a Den Shop available. Some Arts Centre products can be purchased from the weekly Sunday Arts Centre Makete. If you have any questions, please email den staff or call 03 366 0989. 

Did you know?

  • The den is also home to Ministry of Education-supported interactive and stimulating education programmes available for students from years 1 to 13. Find out more here.
  • The beautifully restored Rutherford’s Den Victorian lecture theatre is available to hire for your next event. Find out more here.

Location map

Clock Tower,
Worcester Boulevard

Market Square South Quad North Quad Registry Student Union The Gym Engineering Common Room Library Biology, Observatory and Physics Chemistry School of Art West Lecture Classics Rutherford's Den Clock Tower Boy's High Workshop Great Hall