The Great North Museum: Hancock incorporates collections from the old Hancock Museum: the Natural History Society of Northumbria (NHSN), Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne (SANT) (Newcastle University’s Museum of Antiquities), the Shefton Museum and the Hatton Gallery.

Highlights include a a life-size T-Rex dinosaur replica skeleton, a large-scale interactive model of Hadrian's Wall, major displays showing the wonder and diversity of the animal kingdom, spectacular objects from the Ancient Greeks and mummies from Ancient Egypt, a life size elephant and a planetarium.

The Living Planet display houses hundreds of creatures and by using a mixture of touch screen technology and hands-on investigations, visitors can investigate these animals and find out where they live and how they survive in such extreme places as the arctic and desert.

Live animal tanks and aquaria are integrated into this major display where visitors can see wolf fish, pythons and lizards to name a few. Star objects include a full size model of an elephant, a great white shark, a virtual aquarium, live animal displays, a polar bear, a giraffe and moa skeleton.