Museum of Sydney


Museum of Sydney

A short stroll from Circular Quay, the Museum of Sydney is a must-see for anyone who is interested in learning more about the history and culture of Sydney. Located right in the heart of the city, the Museum of Sydney provides an interesting and engaging way to discover Sydney's past.  

Museum of Sydney

This museum has been built upon the ruins of a house that once belonged to Governor Arthur Phillip, who was the first Governor of New South Wales. Originally built in 1788, this was Australia's first Government House. In addition to this, it was also the point of first contact between the British exiles who were arriving on the First Fleet and the Gadigal people who were the original inhabitants of the land.

After being exposed by archaeologists in 1983, this site was developed into a truly unique museum with many layers. The Museum of Sydney was officially opened in 1995, and today it remains a dynamic and meaningful place for learning and reflection.

Inside the museum, Sydney's colonial history is explored through pictures, objects and digital media. Part of the exhibition includes panoramic images of Sydney that stretch across the walls, as well as video screens. Visitors will also gain a fascinating insight into Sydney's convict past. Artefacts, goods and possessions that were uncovered in 25 archaeological digs are showcased here to provide an idea of what life was like for convicts who were sent to Australia in 1788 which was an important turning point in the history of the nation.

The Museum of Sydney explores the ideas and stories surrounding Australia's history both pre and post 1788. This is achieved through evocative displays that bring the past and the present together in a sensory spectacle guaranteed to leave a lasting impression.

Visitors will also be able to learn more about Australian Aboriginal history. For example, the award-winning sculpture 'Edge of Trees' represents the site of first contact between the Aborigines and the Europeans who arrived on the First Fleet. The museum also explores the Dreamtime, which is the Australian Aboriginal story of creation.

A dynamic mix of permanent and temporary exhibitions, the Museum of Sydney features artwork from prominent Australian and international artists, as well as special historical collections. And if you're looking for interesting and unique souvenirs, the MOS shop sells stylish souvenirs and books on history, architecture and culture.

While you're in Sydney, don't forget to also check out the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Gallery of NSWSydney Tramway Museum and other Sydney museums.

Guided tours and museum passes

Sydney Opera House guided tour. Image; Sydney Opera House

There are a number of ways to enjoy Sydney's historic attractions. A Ticket through Time pass gives you three months of unlimited entry to 11 Historic Houses Trust museums and heritage properties in Sydney, including the Museum of Sydney. You can also join a guided tour and discover backstage secrets of the Sydney Opera House or the historic Queen Victoria Building. Sydney Architecture Tours explore historic streetscapes on foot, giving you a chance to appreciate Sydney's outdoor heritage.

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