Sydney’s Best Museums and Galleries
VISIT SYDNEY’S BEST MUSEUMS AND
AS THE WEATHER cools outside, head indoors to discover a whole new way of looking at the world through art, science, culture and history. Here’s our guide to some of Sydney’s best museums and galleries.
ART GALLERY OF NSW
The Art Gallery of NSW was established in 1871, and features a great mix of Australian and international art, with ever-changing world-class exhibitions on display. It is a beautiful spot to spend a few hours wandering around as the galleries are free (major exhibitions are ticketed). You can make like a local and head to the gallery on a Wednesday night for Art After Hours, a fun-filled evening event with talks, tours, musical performances, films, drinks and more.
Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney. 1800 679 278. artgallery.nsw.gov.au
THE ROCKS DISCOVERY MUSEUM
This free museum in the heart of The Rocks is great for the whole family. The four permanent exhibitions cover the periods of Warrane (pre-1788), Colony (1788–1820), Port (1820–1900), and Transformations (1900–present). With interactive elements, audio, video and touch screens, these exhibitions bring history to life for all to see.
Kendall Lane, The Rocks (enter via Argyle Street). 9240 8680. therocks.com/things-to-do/the-rocks-discovery-museum/
The Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences (MAAS) is home to the Powerhouse Museum. With a focus spanning history, science, technology, design, industry, decorative arts, music, transport and space exploration, there’s something to capture everyone’s imagination here. The transport galleries show how vehicles have shaped our way of life, while children will love the permanent Wiggles exhibition.
500 Harris Street, Ultimo. 9217 0111. maas.museum
SUSANNAH PLACE MUSEUM
Whilst you are in the historic Rocks precinct, a visit to Susannah Place Museum is a must. This terrace of four houses was built by Irish immigrants in 1884. The house has changed little since it was first built, and is a glimpse into our history as you walk through the recreated rooms, and learn of the real stories of residents who used to call it home.
58–64 Gloucester Street, The Rocks. 9241 1893. sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/susannah-place-museum
MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART AUSTRALIA
Pushing architectural boundaries outside, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia pushes them inside too, with an outstanding array of Australian and international artists. The works are contemporary and thought-provoking, with both major exhibitions on display and free galleries to explore and roam at your leisure, situated by the harbour at Circular Quay. 140 George Street, The Rocks. 9245 2400. mca.com.au
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM
The Australian National Maritime Museum, located right on the water at Darling Harbour, is our national centre for maritime collections, exhibitions, research and archaeology. Experience the history of the Royal Australian Navy in the “Actions Stations” exhibition or explore life at sea and hop aboard the the renowned replica of Captain Cook’s HMB or the former Navy destroyer HMAS Endeavour Vampire. 2 Murray Street, Darling Harbour. 9298 3777. anmm.gov.au
MUSEUM OF SYDNEY
The Museum of Sydney tells the stories of our city from the past to the present. It is built over and around the remains of Australia’s first Government House. Be sure to stop, listen and walk among the 29 pillars at the entrance to the museum. The sculpture, “Edge of the Trees” by Janet Laurence and Fiona Foley, evokes the first encounters between the Gadigal people and the people of the First Fleet as they came ashore in 1788—a pivotal moment in our nation’s history. Corner Phillip and Bridge Streets, Sydney. 9251 5988. sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/museum-of-sydney
The Australian Museum, a world-class research institute and museum, was Australia’s first museum and turns 190 in 2017. Kids will love the “Wild Planet” exhibition featuring over 400 animals, while the First Australians galleries feature the Museum’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island collection. The “Surviving Australia” exhibition uncovers the key to the survival of Australian animals with tales of adaptation and survival over millions of years in a changing climate and landscape. 1 William Street, Sydney. 9320 6000. australianmuseum.net.au
HYDE PARK BARRACKS MUSEUM
Located in the heart of the city on Macquarie Street, Hyde Park Barracks Museum is World Heritage listed and one of the most important convict sites in the world. It housed convicts from 1819 to 1848, and you can learn all about what life was like back then. It then became a female immigration depot, was taken over by the courts from 1887, before in 1979 becoming the museum it is today. Queens Square, Macquarie Street, Sydney. 8239 2311. sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/hyde-park-barracks-museum
Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo: Dan Gosse/destination NSW.
Hyde Park Barracks. Photo: PMG. The Australian National Maritime Museum. The Art Gallery of NSW. Photo: PMG.
Museum of Sydney.