The Top Museums in Sydney

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Sydney is well known for the beautiful sights and events which take place beside its sparkly harbour, but it also boasts a wide range of exhibits, both permanent and temporary, in museums scattered across the city.

Sydney’s varied museum offering covers a broad range of topics – from anything spanning from natural or social history, to the advancement of technology over the years – meaning that there’s plenty to learn and discover if you’re looking for a day indoors. Whether it’s the school holidays, or you’re simply looking for something free to do in Sydney, here are some of the harbour city’s museums worth visiting:

Australian Museum

The Australian Museum is the country’s first ever museum, and home to an absolutely huge collection. Housing millions of objects with cultural and scientific significance, the museum’s natural history and anthropological collections are of particular note, featuring spectacular and sometimes downright weird specimens of birds, insects, animals and cultural objects.

The Australian Museum, Sydney. Image Credit - Grenville Turner; Destination NSW.
The Australian Museum, Sydney. Image Credit – Grenville Turner; Destination NSW.

The Rocks Discovery Museum

Through the display of images and archaeological artefacts, the Rocks Discovery Museum recounts the story of The Rocks tracing its history back to before European settlement right through to the present day. You’ll enjoy thousands of years of history presented with the help of interactive exhibits and with special care to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land.

Powerhouse Museum

One of Australia’s largest and most eclectic museums, the Powerhouse Museum hosts plenty of crowd-pleasing permanent exhibits and a packed line-up of temporary showcases. Covering everything from science and technology to design, and touching on contemporary culture and decorative arts, the Powerhouse Museum is home in an impressive range of exhibitions that are sure to keep the whole family happy.

The Powerhouse Museum
The Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. Image Credit – James Horan; Destination NSW.

Macleay Museum

Located within the grounds of the University of Sydney, the Macleay Museum houses the oldest natural history collection in Australia. With an assortment of specimens and photographs, this unique and historic collection of cultural objects are well worth a visit if you’re looking to learn something new.

Hyde Park Barracks

One of the world’s most significant convict sites, Hyde Park Barracks provides a fascinating insight into the lives of some of Australia’s early European residents. Through the display of artefacts left behind by residents who spent time within the barracks, the exhibition traces back the stories of life in Sydney’s early days and the evolution of Hyde Parks Barracks from convict accommodation to an immigration depot and beyond.

Hyde Park Barracks
Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney. Image Credit – James Horan; Courtesy Sydney Living Museums.

Sydney Jewish Museum

Home to visually stunning and emotionally moving exhibits, the Sydney Jewish Museum tells the solemn but significant story of Jewish people in Australia and recounts the wide reaching impacts of the Holocaust. The museum displays artefacts and retells personal accounts while also providing memorial spaces in which to remember the lives lost during the Holocaust, with tours guided by Holocaust survivors.

Australian National Maritime Museum

Detailing Australia’s long-held connection to the sea, the Australian National Maritime Museum is home to a fascinating range of collections and exhibitions. Exhibiting topics ranging from maritime exploration and defence to immigration and water-based leisure activities, the museum provides a unique opportunity to delve into the nation’s maritime history.

The Australian National Maritime Museum
The Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney. Image Credit – Phillip Quirk; Destination NSW.

Next time you find yourself visiting Sydney, why not discover a different side of the harbour city by paying a visit to one, or all, of these fantastic museums? Plan your stay in Sydney with a museum day on the cards, and give yourself plenty of time to visit Sydney’s informative and interesting exhibitions on show.

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