An amalgam of several collections belonging to Newcastle University and named for a Victorian founder of the Natural History Society of Northumberland, this beautifully renovated museum contains an impressive array of ancient archaeological finds, plus galleries on natural history and astronomy. Highlights include artifacts left behind by the Roman builders of Hadrian's Wall; ancient Egyptian mummies; and a reconstruction of the 1st-century Temple of Mithras at Carrawburgh.
This place isn't designed for kids, but there's plenty here to amuse them, including a planetarium and a life-size model of a T-Rex. A short walk takes you to the smaller Hatton Gallery, which holds artwork by Francis Bacon and Kurt Schwitters. It includes a masterpiece by the latter called Merzbarn Wall, commissioned by New York's Museum of Modern Art after World War II to replace an earlier version destroyed in Germany. The museum is just off the Great North Road, and five minutes from the Haymarket Metro station.