A Brief Guide To Museum Victoria's Scienceworks

Think Ahead Exhibition, Scienceworks. Children exploring the 'Life in Space' installation. White panels, space ship like interior. | Courtesy of Scienceworks
Think Ahead Exhibition, Scienceworks. Children exploring the 'Life in Space' installation. White panels, space ship like interior. | Courtesy of Scienceworks
Photo of Monique La Terra
9 February 2017

Since the 28th of March 1992, Scienceworks has acted as an institution for young minds to ask why and find out how. Located in Spotswood, the purpose-built museum ‘links Melbourne’s industry, heritage and applied technology’ in the shadow of the West Gate Bridge, across from the historic pumping station. Scienceworks offers hands-on presentations, exhibits and tours that challenge inquisitive minds of all ages and explores deep space, natural wonders, the human body and our planet.

Lightning Room

Funded by Victoria University, the Lightning Room at Scienceworks opened in 2004, and it features a 30-minute live show which unleashes the power of an electrical storm. Find a spot in the 120-seat auditorium and watch as a giant Tesla Coil, capable of generating more than two million volts of electricity, produces three-metre lightning bolts. The electrifying display also features an electromagnetic can crusher, Jacob’s ladder, lightning safety strategies and a high voltage pickle cucumber. The show is not recommended for children under six years old.

Melbourne Planetarium

Sit back comfortably in a reclining seat and watch an awe-inspiring cosmic presentation across Melbourne Planetarium’s 16-metre domed ceiling. Featuring 7.1 surround sound and a full dome video projection system, Scienceworks invites visitors to sit back and relax during an informative and entertaining show, which is truly out of this world. Each astronomical session begins with a 30-minute pre-recorded audio/visual display and is followed by a live presentation of the current night sky.

Courtesy of Scienceworks | Spotswood Pumping Station | © Adam Selwood/Flickr

Pumping Station

Constructed in 1897, the Spotswood Pumping Station played a vital role in the Melbourne Sewerage Scheme, which sought to improve the city’s early sanitation problems. Hear stinky stories, walk through the boiler room, and see the coal bunker and engine room. Take a self-guided tour or go on a 40-minute specialist tour with Senior Curator of Engineering and Transport Matthew Churchward.


Race against Olympian Cathy Freeman, test your reflexes as a soccer goalkeeper and jump onto the snowboard simulator at Sportsworks. This permanent exhibition allows you to challenge your body and discover the science behind movement. Investigate a variety of sports and see where your particular abilities take you.

Café and Shop

Once you’ve finished exploring the museum, you can sit down at the café or visit the shop where you’ll find everything for the budding scientist, including volcano kits, weather stations, microscopes, telescopes, books, posters, cosmic gifts and much more, to help unveil the mysteries of the universe.

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