Australia is home to a wealth of museums with collections of cultural, scientific, artistic and historical importance, and to step inside any one of them is an opportunity to expand your mind. These 10 museums will help you to gain an understanding of Aboriginal and Australian culture, our maritime and military involvement and our sporting achievements, among other areas.
Located in the Carlton Gardens, the Melbourne Museum is the largest museum in the Southern Hemisphere. Discover the origin of life in Victoria in 600 Million Years, explore the seas in the Science and Life Gallery, roam amongst prehistoric creatures, and enter the nest of ancestral spirit Bunjil in the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre. The museum complex also includes IMAX Melbourne.
11 Nicholson St, Carlton VIC Australia, +61 03 8341 7777
Entry to First Peoples exhibition at Bunjilaka, Melbourne Museum | Courtesy of Melbourne Museum
National Museum of Australia
Canberra’s National Museum of Australia places emphasis on three main areas: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories, Australian history and society since 1788, and Australian interaction with the environment. Among the highlights in the museum’s collection are Captain Cook’s navigational instruments, Phar Laps heart and the Square, Arched and Round windows from Play School.
Lawson Cres, Acton ACT Australia, +61 2 6208 5000
Established in 1827 the National Museum of Australia became the countries first public museum, and to this day it remains focused on showcasing the Australian story. With a collection of more than 18 million objects of cultural and scientific importance, the National Museum of Australia holds a ‘beautiful Collection of Australian curiosities’ across three floors.
1 William St, Sydney NSW Australia, +61 2 9320 6000
Australian National Maritime Museum
Surrounded by ocean, Australia’s maritime past is a significant part the country’s history and since 1991 the National Maritime Museum has played a huge role in exhibiting our naval story. The museum’s main galleries focus on the discovery of Australia, the Navy, the relationship Indigenous Australian have with water, and water travel and recreation. Visitors also have the opportunity to explore three vessels.
2 Murray St, Sydney NSW Australia, +61 3 9298 3777
A museum where inquisitive minds can ask why, discover how Scienceworks links Melbourne’s industry, heritage and applied technology. See an electrifying presentation in the Lighting Room, voyage into deep space at the Planetarium, tour the century-old Pumping Station, and discover the science behind movement in Sportswood.
2 Booker St, Spotswood VIC Australia, +61 3 9392 4800
Think Ahead Exhibition, Scienceworks. Children exploring the “Life in Space” installation. White panels, space ship like interior. | Courtesy Scienceworks
Self-described as a museum of natural history, cultural heritage, science and human achievement Queensland Museum tells the story of the sunshine state. Exhibitions include the Discovery Centre; This is my heritage, Body Zone, ENERGEX Playasaurus Place, Wild State and Lost Creatures. Queensland Museum also hosts the World Science Festival.
Queensland Museum, Grey St & Melbourne St South Brisbane 4101, Queensland
A major branch of the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, the Powerhouse Museum is located in the old Ultimo Power Station building near Darling Harbour. With a collection of approximately 400,000 artifacts spanning science, design, communication, engineering, fashion, space and contemporary culture, the Powerhouse has acquired a unique collection since it was established in 1879. Highlights include Locomotive No. 1 and The Kings Cinema.
500 Harris Street Ultimo NSW Australia, +61 2 9217 0111
National Sports Museum
Championing Australian sporting achievement the National Sports Museum is located at the MCG. The museum features the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame and Australian Football Hall of Fame as well as 3,500 artefacts including Melbourne Cup trophies and Olympic medals. There are also interactive experiences and holograms of Shane Warne and James Hird.
Melbourne Cricket Ground, Brunton Ave, Melbourne VIC Australia, +61 3 9657 8879
With more than 200 interactive exhibits, Questacon: The National Science and Technology Centre strives to enlighten curious minds about science and technology. Opened in September 1988, the museum has eight themed galleries and offers hands-on activities and demonstrations. From meteorology to prehistoric creatures, photography to engineering, Questacon will allow you to flex your mental muscles.
National Portrait Gallery, 35 King Edward Terrace, Parkes ACT Australia, +61 2 6270 2800
Questacon Excite@Q Rototron Courtesy Questacon
Australian War Memorial
Commemorating Australian members of the armed forces who have died in war, the Australian War Memorial incorporates a shrine, museum and a research centre. Opened in 1941, the heart of the memorial is the Hall of Memory which contains the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier and the Roll of Honour, which has the names of over 102,000 Australians. The Memorial also hosts touring exhibitions and features an outdoor Sculpture Garden.
Treloar Cres, Campbell ACT Australia, +61 2 6243 4211
Australian War Memorial World War Two Roll of Honor | © Bidgee/WikiCommons