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.

Museums in Sydney

  • Australian Museum

    Australian Museum

    The Australian Museum has an international reputation in the fields of natural history and indigenous studies research and exhibitions. The museum was established in 1827 and has since gathered an extensive collection of natural and cultural exhibits.

  • Museum of Sydney during Vivid Sydney, 2015

    Museum of Sydney

    A short stroll from Circular Quay, the Museum of Sydney is fascinating glimpse into the history and culture of Sydney. From archaeological remains to relics, models and films, the Museum of Sydney provides a lively and engaging way to discover Sydney's past.

  • Hyde Park Barracks, Image by James Horan

    Hyde Park Barracks

    Designed by convict architect Francis Greenway, the Hyde Park Barracks housed 15,000 male convicts in government employment between 1819 and 1848. Explore the convict experience, lie in a convict hammock and discover the daily lives of occupants at this landmark.

  • Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

    Powerhouse Museum

    The Powerhouse Museum features an extraordinary and diverse collection of exhibits, spanning the history of science to phenomenon of popular culture. With a strong focus on creativity and curiosity, the range of 12 permanent exhibitions at the Powerhouse is complemented by a changing program of events and displays.

  • Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney

    Australian National Maritime Museum

    Spectacularly located at the Sydney's waterfront at the northern end of Darling Harbour, enter the awesome world of underwater warfare aboard a submarine, explore the last of the big gun destroyers, marvel at the fastest boat in the world or step aboard Captain Cook's vessel of discovery.

  •  Justice and Police Museum, Sydney

    Justice and Police Museum

    Restored to its 1890s glory, the building's heavy blocks of sandstone, spiked gates, winding steps and corridor of cells reinforce themes of crime and punishment. The museum features a magistrate’s court, remand cells, a gallery of mug shots of Sydney's early criminals and an array of spine chilling weapons.

  • Sydney Cricket Ground Museum, Sydney

    Sydney Sports Museums

    Sydney has been home to many historical sporting moments, with great museums to honour this legacy. The two biggest of note are the Sydney Cricket Ground Museum and the Rugby League Museum, both in Moore Park. Take a journey through the best of rugby and cricket from years gone by.

  • Fort Denison, Sydney Harbour National Park, Photo by National Parks and David Finnegan

    Heritage Tours

    The heritage buildings in Sydney are beautiful and rich in history. Take a self-guided walk or join a tour and explore prestigious and historic landmarks including The Rocks, The Sydney Harbour Islands, Sydney Opera House, Queen Victoria Building and Elizabeth Bay House, a fine colonial mansion.

  • Aboriginal Heritage

    The spiritual and cultural connections Aboriginal people have with the land are strong and stories and teachings are passed down the generations. You can learn about these ancestral links at museums, art galleries and national parks, and on guided tours and walks.