This city's status as Australia's cultural capital is well-earned.
The city is home to an astounding number of museums, theaters, and other cultural centres of all shapes and sizes. Some museums have found new homes in old buildings, while others have opened in brand new, state-of-the-art complexes.
If you are visiting Melbourne and are interested in the history or modern art, we have compiled a list of the 10 best museums in the city to help you get the most out of your time there.
Melbourne is home to a wide variety of museums that, through their collections of art and historical artefacts, convey the fascinating story of the city's multiculturalism.
The best approach to gather your bearings as a first-time tourist to Melbourne is to check out a few of the city's museums. It doesn't matter how well you think you know Melbourne; a visit to any of the city's museums will almost certainly teach you something new, and may even change your opinion of some facet of Melbourne's unique culture.
Melbourne's Best Museums
Did you forget everything you learnt on those field trips? Visit one of Melbourne's numerous museums to learn more about the people who have created the city into the thriving hub of culture, coffee, the sporting great players that it is today.
Melbourne is Australia's cultural capital, so it makes sense that some of the country's finest museums may be located there.
The designer Corbett Lyons, his wife Yuji, with their children live inside the super Lyon Housemuseum, that features a stunning collection of works by Australian artists working in a variety different mediums.
Before Corbett was happy with his house, he spent five years on the plans and another two years building it. The Lyons' home has become one of Birmingham's finest secrets, and it's only open a few times each month so that the remainder of us can marvel at their existence. Tours require advance online booking and sell out quickly.
Awe-inspiring and spacious, the Melbourne Museum is packed to the gills with exhibitions, hands-on activities, a Panoramic theatre, and other surprises that thrill both first-timers and repeat visitors.
The sheer size of the fixed halls can be intimidating for newcomers. However, the greatest treasures are often the smallest, and the most enlightening of surprises lie in the deepest corners and darkest corners, as long as the traveller isn't intent on devouring everything in a single sitting (much like history himself).
Victoria's history comes to life through artefacts, paintings, and well-written writing. Using artefacts, music, as well as the voices of a past and present, the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Centre reawakens its ancient past.
The museum's most popular exhibit is the stuffed skin of Phar Race, a thoroughbred horse and Depression-era hero.
In Melbourne, people of all ages can have a fantastic time. On weekdays between 9 AM and 10 AM, children aged 1-3 can participate in such a special sensory learning activity at the Melbourne Museum. Biostime's support of the Museum's PlayBox provides an excellent opportunity to introduce those young guests to the Museum's educational programming. Booking in advance is strongly recommended.
Be sure to check out the taxidermy display and the Dinosaur Walk before you leave.
The Museo features an open-air atrium full of living creatures that absorb and refract light, in addition to the standard mounted animals and dinosaurs. There is no stuffiness in the Museum.
In Melbourne, you will have access to a wide range of educational opportunities. Established in 2001 and designed by Melbourne's Barnett Corker Marshall, this museum offers a comprehensive exploration of Melbourne's long and eventful past.
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Islamic Museum Of Australia
Located in Melbourne's northern suburbs' manufacturing districts, this Islamic Museum of Australia serves as a cultural hub that fosters diversity.
The back offices of what was once a bottling plant have been transformed into a magnificent modern attraction by Decypher Architects.
The reception area, staffed by the nicest people in town, is connected to the exhibition halls by two bridges. The museum's design is a fitting metaphor for the museum's aims, with its dark passageways leading to bright areas.
FAQs About Best Museums In Melbourne
Picking the ten best free museums in Melbourne is no easy task really as Melbourne has an amazing art scene. It’s not just local or even national but the best of international art that is on display at most Melbourne museums at any given time of the year.
Classic, as well as modern art, are on display and what’s wonderful about this is that most of the time, you get to see it for free. Of course, you’d have to pay for the really famous international masterpieces touring the city but there are ever so many that let you enjoy a variety of artistic endeavours for free in museums around Melbourne.
Melbourne Museum is in its own category because there is so much to see here, it’s like visiting a series of smaller museums. It is, after all, said to be the largest museum in the Southern Hemisphere!
One of the most popular sections is the Science and Life Gallery, which has 17 skeletons of dinosaurs on display. In the section about Melbourne, one of the highlights is the body of Australia’s most famous racehorse, Phar Lap.
Another really important area is the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, developed with Indigenous representatives, that tells the story of the region’s Aboriginal heritage.
Some of the world’s biggest, rarest, oldest and most fascinating treasures have landed at Melbourne Museum, all the way from London, for the whole family to enjoy.
Journey through the natural world and marvel at the objects that changed the course of scientific history.
Founded in 1861, today the NGV holds the most significant collection of art in the region; a vast treasury of more than 70,000 works that span thousands of years and a wealth of ideas, disciplines and styles. It is a collection that is yours, and it's free!
Melbourne is home to many of Australia's best-known landmarks, such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the National Gallery of Victoria and the World Heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building.
International National Gallery Of Victoria
The National Gallery of Australia is one of the most impressive museums in the world.
National Gallery of Victoria's international collection has indeed been housed in such a bluestone monolithic since 1967, when that outgrew its previous location. Roy Grounds, an eminent Australian architect, designed the original structure.
There is a lot to see at the Museum, but it's not too much that you can't see it all in one day provided you're wearing comfortable shoes. Also, it's interesting for both art specialists and novices.
The MCG is also home towards the National Sports Museum, where curious onlookers can gain insight into the development of Australian sports and peruse relics from some of country's most celebrated victories. Through artefacts and multimedia exhibits, the museum traces the history of AFL, cricket, harness racing, and other popular Australian sports.
Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre
Wominjeka! Bunjilaka is an exhibit at the Melbourne Museum that aims to be a culturally accurate representation of the Koorie way of life.
The exhibition is named after the Bunjil, the first wedge-tailed eagle, which was created by the indigenous people in south-east Australia.
Members from the First Nations population collaborated on the curation of the Birrarung Gallery, the Millar Garden, and the Kalaya performance space at Bunjilaka. Each year, there are three different exhibitions featuring contemporary Koorie artists that you may check out at Birrarung Gallery. To honour Victoria's first peoples, Millar Garden also grows edible and medicinal plants that are unique to the region.
Through the visual and performing arts, Bunjilaka educates tourists about the history and culture the Courtney's first nation peoples. The First Peoples and the Wurreka displays are always open to the public.
Bunjilaka is open 365 days a year, excluding Christmas and Easter. Admission to a Metropolitan Museum of Arts grants access.
Many Melbourne kids and teens hold fond memories of their visits to Scienceworks. This is to be expected, as one of the goals of the museum is to pique the interest of young people in science through interactive displays and programmes.
Guided tours, changing displays, demonstrations, and more happen every day! An impressive focal point of each visit to a planetarium is the enormous dome, meant to evoke the sky above.
Movies for adults are shown in the Planetarium's dome on Friday nights, transporting viewers to far-flung locales like the planet, black holes, and coral. Get ready to watch the movie with a drink in hand.
Visit the underground rooms and witness the magnificent lightning shows. While the expense may be prohibitive for some, nothing beats the excitement of manufactured lightning bolts when used as a teaching tool.
Guests to the Sportsworks exhibit, especially those with children in tow, can put their skills against Cathy Freeman's or get a taste of what it's like to ski. There are social screenplays and mapping of high and low sensory environments available on the Scienceworks website, making it a good choice for autistic visitors.
As its name suggests, ScienceWorks is devoted to categorising scientific and technological information for people of all ages and interests, such as but not limited to robots, space, power, science, environmental studies, and every other aspect of modern life.
Visitors can participate in hands-on activities such as experiments, games, and workshops, despite the name's implication that everything is presented in vitrines.
There's loads of stuff for children as young at five, and loads more for those who enjoy getting their play on. ScienceWorks also hosts the Melbourne Planetarium, which is a major draw for many visitors. There are reclining seats, surround sound, and a 52-foot wooden wall where you may see feature-length films on various astronomical topics for 30 minutes.
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National Sports Museum
Touchstones in the creation of national pride include sports mementoes such as Bradman's drapey white cap, Bart Cummings' gathering of Melbourne Cups, Kathryn Freeman's quick suit within a week of her second run in Sydney 2000, as well as the olive branch displayed to Edwin Fur at the first Summer Olympics in 1886.
Certain displays are made to be engaging to pique the interest of kids. All the same, it's a potent experience because each of the three thousand five hundred or more objects displayed in the eight momentary exhibition spaces of this marvellous Museum does have a significant story to tell.
Two levels beneath the Olympic Stand house the National Sports Museum at Melbourne's National Stadium. We have specials on MCG tours and game tickets.
One of the incredible migration stories in all of Australia is told at the Chinese Museum in Melbourne. During the Mining Boom of the middle 1800s, thousands of Chinese migrants made the long journey from New South Wales to a Queensland goldfields, a distance of more than a thousand miles thru the mountains and deserts.
New arrivals to Victoria were subject to a 10-pound tax, so evading it required a two-month sea voyage from Shanghai, a landing in Adelaide, and a trek to the state's border. Museum communications coordinator Charlene Wu said, "People lose their lives, but locals also helped them along the road."
Visitors to the Chinese Museum's "Finding Gold" exhibit can crawl through the ship's bowels, which rock gently from side to side to simulate the motion of the ocean's waves.
The museum's centrepiece is a massive dragon that makes its way all around pillars in the Dragon Gallery. During Chinese New Year celebrations, "it required to be taken by 63 persons thru the city."
Visitors can see the dragon's six-piece teeth, made of cloth, gold pipework, gemstones, and rabbit hair, up close and personal. You can learn more about the Chinese community in Australia and its 200-year history at The Photo album of Chinese Australia after you've spent time with the dragon.
Since the initial periods of colonial settlement, Chinese culture has had significant impact on Australia's growth, bringing with it not only delicious food but also beautiful buildings, works of art, and fireworks.
Melbourne's Chinese Museum explores the cultural effect of Chinese Australian immigration as part of a Lunar New Year holiday, which last for 38 days and aim to disperse good fortune, happiness, and harmony. After touring the Museum, take in neon-lit Chinese arches that were originally hand-crafted in China before even being torn down and reassembled in David's. Chinese artisans working in Melbourne.
Jewish Museum Of Australia
This museum tells the inspiring and uplifting stories of the Jewish community in Melbourne and Australia from the time of European settlement onward through its exhibits, artefacts, and just a robust instructional activities programme.
A new exhibition at the Museum features testimonies from people who survived the Holocaust. Simultaneously, the many holidays as well as festivals that are staple of Jewish calendar can be experienced through displays and celebrations.
The Immigration Museum
The fascinating Melbourne museum tells the story of the people who settled in Victoria through their own words and photographs.
The venue occupies a beautifully restored building that, from 1858 to 1870, functioned as Melbourne's Cantonment, the colony's main port of entry. Exhibits on everything from global cuisine and spiritual practices to the final curtain call can be found on the second floor. The Long Room is the museum's most prized exhibit and a must-see for anyone interested in Renaissance revivalist architecture.
The museum features permanent exhibits with themes like "Getting In," "Leaving Home," and "Identity: Yours, Mine, Ours." The Old Customs Residence, a landmark in Australia's immigration history, is the subject of a museum and visitor centre.
Have you heard that there is the largest population of Greeks outside of Southeastern Europe in Melbourne? There has been a sizable Greek group in Melbourne ever since the gold rush.
If you're looking for a place to learn about and celebrate Greek culture in Melbourne, look no further than the Hellenic Museum. There are five perpetual and two rotating displays at this museum, which is located in the historic Aristocratic Mint mast on William Street.
Not only does the museum house artefacts from the Neolithic era, but it also plays an active role in inspiring contemporary Greek and international artists to reinterpret the country's rich cultural heritage. The Messenger," a hyperreal sculpture by Sam Jinks, is one such instance.
In addition to the permanent exhibits, the Museum regularly hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including live music, theatre, film screenings, and lectures.
Heide Museum Of Modern Art
The Heide Modern Art Museum is a fascinating combination of art, design, cultural history, and landscape. The homeowner's 16 acres of traditional gardens and sculpture park serve as a backdrop for the contemporary and modern art displays spread across three exhibition buildings.
Seeing the art at Heide is exciting, but seeing the museum itself is even more so. The museum can be found on the former dairy farm and gathering place known as Heide Circle, which was purchased by art and design patrons John as well as Sunday Reed.
Silo Art Trail
We conceived in 2016 after the first Brim silo art installation was a huge success. What started as a neighbourhood project is now drawing visitors from all over the world.
Connecting Brim with Rosebery, Rupanyup, Lascelles, Patchewollock, as well as Sheep Hills is a 125-mile stretch of the Silo Art Trail. However, the true value of this artwork lies not in its massive size or fantastic design but in the glimpse it gives you into the authentic character of a Wimmera Mallee.
Huge mural photographs of locals have been painted on grain storage along this ancient route in rural Victoria, with some of the paintings dating back to the 1930s.
Australian War Memorial
Those Australians who gave their lives serving their country in World War II are honoured by this sombre memorial.
The Australian War Memorial serves as a shrine, museum, and research centre, and provides invaluable insight into the struggles faced by these young soldiers.
Since its opening in 1941, Australia's National Museum has been more than just another place to see artefacts and read about the country's past. The memorial's soul is the Hall of Recollection, which holds the Tomb of the Begun to fall Australian Hero as well as the Roll of Honour, about which and over 102,000 Australians' identities are inscribed.
The outdoor Sculpture Garden and rotating exhibits are two of the highlights of a visit to this memorial.
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Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia
For such a young country, Australia seems like a fitting location for the world's largest gathering of Australian art. Located in a nook of Federation Square, the National Gallery of Vic (NGV Australia) is a massive cultural organisation with over 21 galleries on three floors.
Trace the development of Australian art from of the arrival of the Europeans to the present day through a variety of media, including paintings, images, prints, sketches, fabrics, and decorative arts from the Heidelberg School and the Colonial period.
Visitors from other countries may be interested in the museum's extensive collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art as well as artefacts.
There are many museums, theatres, and other cultural centres in Melbourne, which makes it the cultural capital of Australia. To help tourists make the most of their time in the city, we have created a list of the top 10 museums. Learn about the history of the people who made Melbourne the cultural and athletic mecca that it is today by visiting one of the city's many museums. The Lyon Housemuseum is a hidden gem that is only open a handful of times each month. Both first-timers and seasoned museum goers will be delighted by the abundance of exhibits, interactive displays, a Panoramic theatre, and other delights that can be found throughout the Melbourne Museum.
In Barnett Corker Marshall's masterful design, visitors will find a wealth of information about Melbourne's colourful history. The stuffed skin of Phar Race, a thoroughbred and hero of the Great Depression era, is the museum's most visited exhibit. The Melbourne Museum's PlayBox is a great way to introduce young visitors to the Museum's educational activities, and the Museum's particular sensory learning activity for children ages 1-3 is a hit with families. Two bridges connect the museum's exhibition spaces, making the Islamic Museum of Australia a cultural centre that promotes diversity.
- The title of "culture capital of Australia" is well-deserved by this city.
- There is an incredible variety of museums, theatres, and other cultural centres in the city.
- Even as some museums have relocated to historic structures, others have opened in shiny new facilities.
- We have produced a list of the top 10 museums in Melbourne to help you make the most of your stay there, whether you are interested in Melbourne's rich history or cutting-edge contemporary art.
- Some of the many museums in Melbourne tell the unique tale of Melbourne's multiculturalism through its art and historical artefact collections.
- Visiting some of Melbourne's museums is a great way for first-time visitors to get their bearings in the city.
- If you believe you know everything there is to know about Melbourne, a trip to any of the city's museums will almost surely teach you something new and may even change your opinion of some part of Melbourne's unique culture.
- Melbourne is the cultural centre of Australia, thus it seems to reason that some of the best museums may be found there.
- The Melbourne Museum is awe-inspiring and large, with exhibits, hands-on activities, a Panoramic theatre, and other surprises that amaze both first-time and regular visitors.
- Children in the age range of one to three are invited to the Melbourne Museum on weekdays between nine and ten a.m. to take part in a unique sensory learning activity.
- There is a diverse selection of academic institutions and programmes available to you in Melbourne.
- Get to know Melbourne with a local and learn about the city's history and top attractions.
- It's the Islamic Museum Down Under This Islamic Museum of Australia, located in Melbourne's northern suburbs, is a cultural centre that promotes tolerance and acceptance of people of different faiths and backgrounds.