The Best Museums in Australia
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.
Australian National Maritime Museum:
The Best things about this Sydney museum are the ships and submarines often docked in the harbor out front. You can climb aboard and experience what it's like to be a sailor. Inside are some fascinating displays relating to Australia's dependence on the oceans.
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.
Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historical Reserve:
It's not called a museum, but that's what this restored telegraph repeater station out in the picturesque hills by a spring -- Alice Springs -- really is. From the hot biscuits turned out of the wood-fired oven to the old telegraph equipment, this 1870s settlement is as real as history can get.
Australian Aviation Heritage Centre:
The pride of this hangar in Darwin is a B-52 bomber on permanent loan from the U.S. But there are loads more, and not just planes, engines, and other aviation paraphernalia: There are stories, jokes, and anecdotes associated with the exhibits that will appeal even if you don't have avgas (aviation fuel) running in your veins.
Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre:
"Memorable and moving" were the words used by one reader to describe her visit to this small, stylish museum in Kakadu National Park. Learn about Dreamtime myths and the daily life of Aboriginal people in Kakadu.
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.
Western Australian Maritime Museum & Shipwreck Galleries:
Housed in the historic port precinct of Fremantle, this museum (and its adjacent galleries) tells tales of the harsh Western Australian coastline since the Dutch first bumped into it and abandoned it as useless in the 1600s. Anyone who ever dreamed of finding a shipwreck laden with pieces of eight will relish the displays of treasure recovered from the deep.
New Norcia Museum and Art Gallery:
This tiny museum in the Spanish Benedictine monastery town of New Norcia holds a mind-boggling collection of European Renaissance art. The museum has all kinds of memorabilia: the monks' manuscripts, clothing, instruments, and gifts from Queen Isabella of Spain.
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.
The Migration Museum: Just like the U.S., Australia is a land of immigrants, and this
Adelaide museum tells their stories. It's an innovative museum that doesn't pull any punches, letting firsthand stories (many written by visitors and posted on notice boards) tell the history without the gloss of hindsight or political agendas.
National Sports Museum:
This outstanding museum inside the Melbourne Cricket Ground tells Australia's sporting story from its early beginnings to the present, celebrating Australian sporting heroes, memorable moments, and achievements. It includes the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame, the Australian Racing Museum, and the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, and has a large interactive area popular with all ages.
Old Melbourne Gaol:
This historic prison, with its tiny cells and spooky collection of death masks and artifacts of 19th-century prison life, was the scene of 135 hangings, including that of notorious bushranger (and Australian folk hero) Ned Kelly, in 1880. You can also visit the former City Watch House and the old Magistrate's Court.
National Museum of Australia:
Australia's national museum is housed in an innovative, purpose-built building and profiles 50,000 years of indigenous heritage, settlement since 1788, and key events including Federation and the 2000 Sydney Olympics. There are five permanent galleries and changing exhibitions