Museums in Sydney

Highlights

Step into the past

Uncover the past at Sydney's amazing museums. You'll discover everything from dinosaurs and giant marsupials at the Australian Museum to colonial history at World Heritage-listed sites Old Government House, in Parramatta, and Hyde Park Barracks in the city centre. Climb aboard a tall ship at Darling Harbour and discover Australia's maritime history.

  • Australian Museum
  • Fort Denison, Sydney Harbour National Park. Photo David Finnegan

Discover Sydney's fascinating museums

A passion for the past? Then head for Sydney's fascinating museums, which are among the city's most popular attractions, showcasing everything from dinosaur skeletons and colonial history to tall ships and one of Don Bradman's cricket bats.

The Australian Museum, which was established in 1827, is the nation's oldest and has more than 10 million items in its collection. The museum, near Hyde Park and the city's main shopping area, has 10 complete dinosaur skeletons and interactive displays to delight youngsters.

Nearby is the Hyde Park Barracks Museum, one of Australia's 11 World Heritage-listed convict sites. Near Circular Quay is the Museum of Sydney, which is built on the site of the first Government House. You'll see remains of Governor Arthur Phillip's official residence in the forecourt and foyer. And The Rocks Discovery Museum tells the story of The Rocks from pre-European days to today.

Museum of Sydney during Vivid Sydney 2015

The Powerhouse Museum, near Darling Harbour, focuses on applied arts and sciences, with plenty of interactive experiences. Always popular is the Australian National Maritime Museum, also at Darling Harbour, where you can explore a tall ship or submarine and browse galleries of maritime memorabilia.

Board the Watsons Bay-bound ferry or Captain Cook Cruises' hop-on hop-off service at Circular Quay and alight at Garden Island for the Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre, housed in two heritage-listed buildings. You'll discover more than 100 years of naval history.

Top destinations for sports fans are the Sydney Cricket Ground Museum and the Heroes and Legends Rugby League Museum, both in Moore Park. The SCG Museum is part of the SCG Experience Tour that includes the Members Pavilion and a walk on the legendary oval. For railway buffs, make your way to Trainworks Railway Museum in Thirlmere, an 80 minute-drive from the city centre.

  1. Hawkesbury Regional Museum

    Hawkesbury Regional Museum

    Hawkesbury Regional Museum in Windsor has a long history including a rich indigenous cultural heritage established by the Darug people, as well as a distinctive built environment dating back to the earliest days of...

  2. La Perouse Museum

    La Perouse Museum

    La Perouse Museum is located on Kamay Botany Bay National Park’s northern headland. The museum is housed within the historic Cable Station building, once Australia’s only link to the rest of the world. The La Perouse...

  3. Susannah Place Museum

    Susannah Place Museum

    Built in 1844, Susannah Place Museum is a terrace of four houses that incorporates a recreated 1915 corner store. Rare in the city of Sydney, it has a continuous history of domestic occupancy by working class families...

  4. Sydney Jewish Museum

    Sydney Jewish Museum

    Since its opening in 1992 the Sydney Jewish Museum has become an integral part of the cultural life of Sydney. The Museum is dedicated to documenting and teaching the history and lessons of the Holocaust. They...

  5. Mary MacKillop Place Museum

    Mary MacKillop Place Museum

    Since opening in 1995, the Museum has been engaging visitors with the remarkable story of Mary MacKillop [1842-1909], Australia's first saint. Mary's extraordinary work comes to life where innovative technology takes...

  6. Brett Whiteley Studio

    Brett Whiteley Studio

    Explore one of Sydney's best kept secrets: the Brett Whiteley Studio, where one of Australia's most celebrated artists of the 20th century lived and worked from 1988 to 1992.The Studio exhibits a...

  7. City of Canada Bay Museum

    City of Canada Bay Museum

    Ever wondered where the iconic Aussie rotary mower, Victa, originated? Mervyn Victor Richardson took 'borrowing your neighbours lawn mower' to a whole new level when he laid eyes on the petrol-driven rotary mower...

  8. Sydney Tramway Museum

    Sydney Tramway Museum

    Sydney Tramway Museum provides a nostalgic and educational insight into the lifestyle of Sydneysiders during the 100 year period of tramway operation from 1861 to 1961, with trams running, plus restoration works-in...

  9. Manly Art Gallery and Museum

    Manly Art Gallery and Museum

    The Manly Art Gallery and Museum is only a four minute walk from Manly Wharf. Opened in 1930 by Manly Council, it was the first metropolitan regional gallery in New South Wales. The gallery has become a popular...

  10. Nicholson Museum

    Nicholson Museum

    Australia's first University Museum, and the largest public collection of archaeological artefacts in the country, featuring objects from ancient Egypt, Greece, Italy, Cyprus, the Middle East and northern Europe;...

  11. Dredges Cottage

    Dredges Cottage

    Come and visit Dredges Cottage. A Veterans Recreation Centre, and the only one of its kind in Australia, Dredges Cottage features and displays memorabilia covering all theatres of conflict from the Boer War in 1902 to...

  12. Rose Seidler House

    Rose Seidler House

    Rose Seidler House, built between 1948 and 1950, is one of the most uncompromising modernist houses in Australia. Nestled in natural bushland, the house has panoramic views of Ku-ring-gai National Park from its glass...

  13. Vaucluse House

    Vaucluse House

    Vaucluse House survives as one of Sydney's only nineteenth century harbourside estates with house, kitchen wing, stables and outbuildings and is still surrounded by ten hectares of formal gardens and grounds....

  14. NSW Lancers Memorial Museum

    NSW Lancers Memorial Museum

    The museum of Australia's oldest, most decorated Regiment in the mainland's oldest (1820), heritage listed barracks. Trace the evolution of the weaponry, uniforms and equipment of the NSW Cavalry and famed Light Horse...

  15. Museum of Sydney

    Museum of Sydney

    A modern museum built on the historic site of the first Government House, built for Governor Phillip in 1788. The Museum of Sydney takes you on a journey exploring Sydney's people, places and cultures from dreamtime...

  16. Old Government House Parramatta

    Old Government House Parramatta

    Standing in 200 acres of parkland overlooking historic Parramatta, Old Government House is Australia's oldest public building. For seven decades, it was the 'country' residence of 12 early governors of the colony,...

  17. Museum of Fire

    Museum of Fire

    There is nothing boring about the Museum of Fire!With engines dating back to the early 1800's the Museum of Fire stands as a fitting monument to our heroic firefighters and guards the heritage and...

  18. Australian Museum

    Australian Museum

    Established in 1827, the Australian Museum (AM) is Australia’s first museum and has been at the forefront of scientific research, collection and education for more than 185 years. Through exhibitions and other public...

  19. Camden Museum

    Camden Museum

    Located inside Camden Library, Camden Museum contains a rich collection of Camden's historical artefacts including photos, maps, clothing, uniforms, furniture, musical instruments and badges.Formed...

  20. Carss Cottage Museum

    Carss Cottage Museum

    Carss Cottage is a sandstone cottage built in 1865 for William Carss and family. It is the oldest building still standing in the Kogarah area and houses a Museum focusing on local history, run by Kogarah Historical...

  21. Justice and Police Museum

    Justice and Police Museum

    The Justice and Police Museum was originally the Water Police Court (1856), Water Police Station (1858) and Police Court (1886). Restored to their 1890s character, the building's heavy blocks of sandstone, spiked...

  22. Powerhouse Museum

    Powerhouse Museum

    Located in the old Ultimo Power Station building adjacent to Darling Harbour, the Powerhouse Museum is the flagship venue of Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS). Its unique and diverse collection spans science,...

  23. Experiment Farm Cottage

    Experiment Farm Cottage

    Experiment Farm Cottage stands on the site of the first land grant in Australia, made in 1789 by Governor Phillip to the former convict, James Ruse. By 1791 Ruse had successfully farmed the 30 acre site as an...

  24. Hambledon Cottage  Museum

    Hambledon Cottage Museum

    Hambledon Cottage Museum is home to Parramatta and District Historical Society, founded in 1913.Experience the pleasure of colonial lifestyle with a guided tour of Hambledon Cottage. Hear Beethoven's music...

  25. Hyde Park Barracks Museum

    Hyde Park Barracks Museum

    Designed by convict architect Francis Greenway, the Hyde Park Barracks housed 15,000 male convicts in government employment between 1819 and 1848. Later it became a female immigration depot and a government asylum for...

  26. Customs House

    Customs House

    Customs House is built on the land of the traditional Indigenous owners, the Eora people, and is the site of the First Fleet landing. It is one of the most significant buildings in the history of European settlement...

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