1987 - The original museum opens as Queensland Museum, North Queensland Branch. Dr Carden Wallace curator in charge.

1990 - Museum of Tropical Queensland becomes the official name of the branch.

1992 - Eureka Prize for Environmental Research awarded to Dr Wallace and the James Cook University Coral Reproduction Group.

1993 - Fourth Queensland Museum Pandora Expedition.

1993 - First volunteer program for museum guides - "Cockatoos".

1995 - Fifth Queensland Museum Pandora Expedition.

1996 - Sixth Queensland Museum Pandora Expedition.

1996 - Pandora Foundation is born, raising money to complete further fieldwork at the site of the Pandora and to build a museum to house the artefacts recovered.

1997 - City of Townsville Pandora Expedition.

1998 - Construction of the current, purpose-built museum 'MTQ Stage 2' commences.

1998 - NORQEB Pandora Expedition.

1999 - Townsville Port Authority Pandora Expedition.

2000 - New museum opens in June setting a monthly visitation record for June that still stands.

2003 - Sally Lewis named Director of the museum.

2003 - New Community Pass Program developed in partnership with Townsville City Council, Burdekin Shire Council, Charters Towers Regional Council, Hinchinbrook Shire Council and the former Thuringowa and Dalrymple councils.

2004 - Launch of the Tropical Club.

2005 - Unveiling of Spinderella the giant Silver Orb spider overlooking Flinders Street East.

2006 - MTQ inducted into the North Queensland Tourism Awards Hall of Fame.

2007 - Peter McLeod becomes Director of the Museum.

2007 - Celebration of the museum’s 20th birthday.

2007 - Creepy Crawlies Alive! holiday program in January was the catalyst for a new visitation record of 17, 476 for any month. Record still stands.

2007 - The Enchanted Rainforest, the first new major permanent exhibition since the current building opened with the support of BHP Billiton Yabulu.

2008 - The Langley Diving Collection, a collection of heritage diving helmets and other dive equipment is donated to Queensland Museum, part of which is displayed at the Museum of Tropical Queensland.

2008 - MTQ mascot Beau the Butterfly unveiled.

2009 - Children’s exhibition Your Shipwreck Adventure opens.

2009 - Dr Carden Wallace, senior scientist and expert in Staghorn corals wins the prestigious Queensland Museum medal.

2009 - MTQ, together with the donors of the Langley Diving Collection are the first Australians to win an international diving heritage award for excellence in educating the public about the history of diving.