Rutherford’s Den

Days / Hours: Open daily, 10.30am - 2.30pm

Clock Tower, Worcester Boulevard

Closures: Rutherford's Den will be closed on the following dates: 7-8 & 13-16 May 2024


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

The Rutherford's Den exhibition is now free to the public, and open daily between 10.30am-2.30pm. Donations are greatly appreciated. 

Group tours are available on request. Please contact visitor services if you wish to arrange a tour on 03 366 0989 or email

Please note, there is no longer a Den Shop available. 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 Hereford St Carpark Boys' High Entrance Engineering Laneway The Observatory Hotel Courtyard South Quad North Quad Registry Student Union The Gym Engineering Cloisters Studio 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