destination NSW

Museums in Sydney


Uncover Sydney's history, culture and artistic past at one of several quality museums around the city. For pioneering colonial history, visit Elizabeth Farm and Old Government House, learn about the city's railway heritage at The Rocks Discovery Museum or make your way to Trainworks in Thirlmere.

Must Do

Visiting Sydney Museums

Exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney

Winter is the busiest time for Sydney’s museums as entertainment-seekers flock indoors. Locals and visitors are rewarded by a number of high quality and innovative displays and exhibits from the likes of the Powerhouse Museum, the Australian Natural Maritime Museum and the Museum of Sydney.

It's a great time to explore Sydney’s indoor offerings and with a number of highly fascinating museums to entertain you and your whole family, you’ll have great day-out options the whole season.

Established in 1827, the Australian Museum was the country’s first museum featuring extensive collections of natural science and cultural artefacts. It has an international reputation for natural history and indigenous research, community programmes and exhibitions.Tyrannosaurs is the museum’s feature exhibition this winter. Newly found fossils from China and the US make their first appearance in Australia in this exclusive exhibition.

Located in Ultimo, the Powerhouse Museum is one of Australia’s largest and most diverse museums. More than 250 interactive exhibits bring it to life with holographic images, touch screen computers, science experiments and virtual-reality space. This winter will see a number of fascinating exhibits including The Strictly Ballroom story from April 5, featuring design drawings, cast and set photographs, and a selection of original costumes. The Games Master exhibition, on until 25 May, features more than 100 playable games and celebrates the world’s most influential videogame designers.

The Australian National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour, a distinctive indoor and outdoor attraction provides a great day’s entertainment for kids and parents alike. The museum also hosts an ever-changing programme of temporary exhibitions and a fleet of historic craft at its wharves. This season's exhibitions include a study of whale species across the world and a look at Britain’s child migrants.

The Museum of Sydney is a modern museum located on the historic site of the first Government House, built for Governor Phillip in 1788. It takes visitors on a journey exploring Sydney from the Dreamtime to the modern day. The highlight this winter is Celestial City: Sydney’s Chinese Story, on from 29 March to 12 October.

In addition to Government House, other significant buildings are available to view thanks to the Historic Houses Trust, which opens fine colonial homes spread around Sydney, giving you a taste of early colonial life and architecture.

Historical items on display at the SCG Museum. Photo: Hamilton Lund, courtesy SC&SG Trust

Sports museums in Sydney

Museums often have a reputation for being academic but with a city as dynamic as Sydney this isn’t always the case – even sports fans can find museums to their liking. The two biggest of note are the Rugby League Museum and the SCG Museum, both in Moore Park, which highlight the best of rugby and cricket from years gone by.

Historical items on display at the Aboriginal Heritage Museum. Image: Aboriginal Heritage Museum

Aboriginal Heritage Museum

Aboriginal heritage is a significant part of the cultural landscape of Sydney. The Aboriginal Heritage Museum in Northbridge is a great place to begin your Aboriginal educational journey. It houses a multitude of Aboriginal artefacts, including tools and weapons, and interactive models. Book ahead of time to enjoy a free guided tour of the museum with an Aboriginal Heritage Officer.

Queen Victoria Building – Sydney. Image Credit City of Sydney

Sydney heritage attractions

The heritage buildings in Sydney are beautiful and have a rich history. Take a self-guided walk or an organised tour and explore Sydney's most recognised landmarks, including the Sydney Opera House, Queen Victoria Building and Hyde Park Barracks.