The Best Museums in Sydney 2019

Looking for the Best Museums in Sydney 2019? Here’s our Sydney museum guide with more information about each museum as well as the exhibitions, opening hours and admission fee.

Even if you have visited or stayed your whole life in Sydney, chances are still high that you may have missed some of the following museum experiences in the city.

Some of these museums are absolutely wonderful and worth your time so whether you’re a tourist or a native, I’m sure you will find many museums in Sydney that will align with your personal interests.

Sydney Observatory

The Sydney Observatory enjoys its privileged position as the most famous science museum in the city. A sibling to the Powerhouse Museum and collectively called the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, the Sydney Observatory Museum is a must-go place for an amazing experience of historical science innovations.

It allows the visitors to experience the telescopic view along with a 3D Space Theatre and also the Sydney Planetarium. It is best suited for people who want to experience the astronomical concepts through interactive experiences and that includes kids who will have a field day here all throughout the year.

  • Address: 1003 Upper Fort Street, Millers Point, Sydney NSW 2000
  • Opening hours: Seven Days a Week from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Admission Fee: Free for Children Under 3, A$8 for Youth Under 16, A$10 for General Admission
museums in sydney

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Museum of Sydney

The Museum of Sydney offers its visitors a walk through the history of the great city and is actually the site of the first Government House of Australia. Built into its current attractive structure in 1995, this museum is one of the definite entries on your itinerary.

Focusing on history as far back as the original inhabitants, the Gadigal People, the museum links back to the beginnings of modern Australia. We recommend a visit to the Museum of Sydney because it explores through the city stories from its very origin to becoming Australia’s busiest city of modern times.

  • Address: Corner of Phillip Street and Bridge Street, Sydney NSW 2000
  • Opening hours: Seven Days a week from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Admission Fee: Free for Children Under 5 and Members, A$12 for General Admission
Museum of Sydney

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Elizabeth Bay House Museum

The Elizabeth Bay House Museum is heritage-listed as the Colonial Regency style house and is an incredible sight to behold. Providing an insightful and interactive experience for visitors, the museum is famous as one of the finest examples of Australian colonial architecture.

It is best known for its central elliptical saloon with a domed lantern and a see-it-to-believe-it geometric staircase. It gives an insightful and interactive experience for visitors into the Bay House and allows the visitors to learn how the servants spent their days in the house.

A Family Tour event at Elizabeth Bay House lets the visitors discover the hidden servant quarters in the house and read the Rules for Servants before showing the life of servants over a century ago.

  • Address: 7 Onslow Avenue, Elizabeth Bay, Sydney NSW 2011
  • Opening hours: Fridays to Sundays from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
  • Admission Fee: Free for Children Under 5 and Members, A$12 for General Admission
Elizabeth Bay House Museum

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Powerhouse Museum – Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences

The Powerhouse Museum is the sibling of the famous Sydney Observatory and together they are managed under the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences.

With a vast and very diverse collection, this is a fantastic place for visitors of all ages as you are guaranteed to find something of your interest. With over 400,000 artifacts housed in the museum’s permanent collection, the Powerhouse Museum is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in Sydney.

  • Address: 500 Harris Street, Ultimo, Sydney NSW 2007
  • Opening hours: Fridays to Sundays from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
  • Admission Fee: Free for Children Under 16 and Teachers (with ID), A$15 for General Admission
museums in sydney

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Nicholson Museum

Housing the most comprehensive collection antiquities in the southern hemisphere, the Nicholson Museum is home to over 30,000 artifacts of archaeological and artistic significance from Egypt, Cyprus, Italy, Greece, and the Middle East.

All the objects present in the Museum have great and rich intimate stories to tell about the everyday life of people along with their beliefs from the ancient world.

A very exciting recent edition is the LEGO Pompeii showing the city at the moment of its destruction. It’s one of the most popular sections at the museum which houses scores of impressive exhibits in its various collections.

This is one of the very few museums in Sydney with free entry so that’s a major plus for visitors.

  • Address: Education Building, A14 Quadrangle the University of Sydney, Manning Rd, Camperdown NSW 2006
  • Opening hours: Mondays to Fridays from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM
  • Admission Fee: Free for All
Nicholson Museum

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The Mint Museum Sydney

The Mint Museum is not just a museum, but a complete package for visitors to experience the Rum Hospital, Royal Mint, Court and Offices.

It allows the visitors to explore the heritage buildings, historical structures and other important sights of archaeological interest. The museum itself is small but with a meaningful collection of artifacts from the various eras of the venue’s history.

  • Address: 10 Macquarie Street, Sydney NSW 2000
  • Opening hours: Mondays to Fridays from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Admission Fee: Free for All
The Mint Museum

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The Rocks Discovery Museum

Anyone who is interested in the history of rocks must visit this Museum in Sydney. This Museum in Sydney takes you to the time when the establishment of the English colony took place.

This was the time when whalers, sailors, and trades made The Rocks as their homes through the time of 1970s union-led protests that helped to preserve this very interesting and unique part of Sydney’s history for the future generations to cherish, discover and enjoy.

The museum is open all year and admission is free so why not squeeze in an hour to visit this delightful and very unique exhibition.

  • Address: Kendall Lane, The Rocks, Sydney NSW 2000
  • Opening hours: Seven Days a Week from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Admission Fee: Free for All
The Rocks Discovery Museum

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Australian Museum

Australian Museum is one of the very first public museums that have been celebrating flora, fauna and many other cultures of the Pacific in general and Australia in particular.

It is a must-visit place because it explains the story of the country’s entire natural history and ethnography. The best part is that, this museum has expanded to house an incredible over 18 million specimens of scientific and cultural interest. The Australian Museum enjoys an enviable reputation in the fields of natural history and anthropology around the world.

  • Address: 1 William Street, Sydney Central Business District, Sydney NSW 2010
  • Opening hours: Seven Days a Week from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Admission Fee: Free for All. Some events and special exhibitions are paid.
Australian Museum

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The Elizabeth Farm

When looking for insight into the oldest homes in Australia, The Elizabeth Farm is a fantastic place that offers a unique experience to its visitors with a house that was built for a young military couple and their growing family circa 1793. 

  • Address: 70 Alice Street, Rosehill, Sydney NSW 2142
  • Opening hours: Seven Days a Week from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
  • Admission Fee: Free for Children Under 5 and A$12 for General Admission
sydney museums

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Australian National Maritime Museum

The Australian National Maritime Sydney Museum is a definitive must-visit museum for every family visiting Sydney, especially with kids. While exploring the exhibition spaces and indulging in interactive sections, there are kids-specific areas like the PLAY gallery as well among many other attractions.

The popular Kids on Deck program offers an exciting experience for kids to discover, create, play and get their hands dirty with painting, printmaking and sculpture. There are many exciting events for adults making it an outstanding experience for the entire family.

Please be mindful that the cut-off time for boarding the vessels is an hour before the museum closes so it is worth noting that you need to plan your visit here in advance to make the most out of it.

  • Address: 2 Murray Street, Sydney NSW 2000
  • Opening hours: Seven Days a Week from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Admission Fee: Free for all
Australian National Maritime Museum sydney

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Sydney Jewish Museum

The Jewish history is one of the most interesting topics in history and you are tipped to find some of the answers at this notable museum. Sydney Jewish Museum as this museum offers a large variety of historical content for people who really want to know about the Holocaust, the history of Judaism in Australia and some human rights issues in the country.

The exhibits provide helpful insights into timeless historical questions like why the Jews didn’t leave Germany when the Nazis came to power and many more. The museum proudly claims its purpose as the place to narrate stories that start conversations and inspire change.

  • Address: 148 Darlinghurst Road, Sydney NSW 2010
  • Opening hours: Mondays to Thursdays from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM, Fridays from 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM and Sundays from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
  • Admission Fee: Free for all

Macleay Collection Museum

One of the world’s oldest natural history collection museum and the oldest in Australia, The Macleay Collection Museum needs no introduction. One needs to visit this place in order to learn about the artifacts in the cabinets of Alexander Macleay and it expands through the entire collection of Macleay family network from Charles Darwin to Sir Stamford Raffles.

This Museum is best suited for people who have an in-depth interest in English history and have a specific interest in English literature. The best part of the museum’s collection is the historic photograph collection record for the life in Australia and in the Pacific region from the time of late 1840s to 1960s.

  • Address: Education Building, A14 Quadrangle the University of Sydney, Manning Rd, Camperdown NSW 2006
  • Opening hours: Mondays to Fridays from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM
  • Admission Fee: Free for all

Art Gallery of New South Wales Museum

While Sydney is often hailed as the hub of arts in Australia, the plaudits usually go to the infamous Sydney Opera House. The Art Gallery of New South Wales and its museum is another impressive place that lends strong credits to this claim.

As one of the largest art galleries in Australia, there is an extraordinary variety of art in this museum including Asian art, Australian art, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artworks among many others.

The collection also includes contemporary art including Western and Asian art in various media. There are also fun art activities for children under 5 so you can actually leave your children supervised as you explore and appreciate the art on display

  • Address: Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney NSW 2000
  • Opening hours: Seven Days a Week from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Admission Fee: Free for all
The Art Gallery of New South Wales_

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Justice and Police Museum

The Justice and Police Museum is one of the most unique museums in the city based on the history of the city police. Converted into a museum from two courthouse buildings and one police station, the architecture of the times has been preserved to offer visitors an authentic look into the heritage of the law forcing agencies in the city and how they evolved over time.

The museum has an exciting collection from the colonial era and includes rare historical artifacts like firearms, devices, and instruments from more than a century ago. Photographs, documents and forensic evidence from those times makes this a worthwhile visit on your trip to Sydney.

Please do note that this museum is open only on the weekend so this invaluable information can save you a good amount of headache if you’re trying to squeeze a visit to this museum into your weekday itinerary.

  • Address: 4-8 Phillip Street, Sydney Central Business District, Sydney NSW 2000
  • Opening hours: Open only on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Admission Fee:  Free for Children Under 5 and Members, A$12 for General Admission
sydney Justice and Police Museum

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More About Museums in Sydney

With plenty of free museums, Sydney offers you diverse options when it comes to searching for interesting exhibitions to visit. Some paid exhibitions which are usually temporary are worth your time and money and we definitely recommend checking them out.

However, most of the museums have world-renowned permanent collections that will give you a nice experience year-round. The main focus of the museums of Sydney is to showcase rich culture and heritage to preserve the past and use it as a guide to the future.

Museums in Sydney for Kids

Powerhouse Museum

The Powerhouse Museum is well suited for kids of all ages with specifics exhibits tailormade to pique their interest in science, arts, and history. The permanent exhibitions including transport exhibitions, space and the steam revolution which are a great source of teaching students the rich history and future possibilities of science and technology.

The Rocks Discovery Museum

Children are amazed by rocks, their shapes, history, and textures. The Rocks Discovery Museum is a must-visit for kids, as they will be able to learn about the unique collection of the Rocks from the pre-European days to today. It is also a good learning place for them about science and geology.

Australian National Maritime Museum

Australian National Maritime Museum is a must-visit place for children. The family programs offered by the museum will add so much to the learning experience of children about real-life tall ships, submarine and warships and a lot more.

Art Gallery of New South Wales Museum

The Art Gallery of NSW has fun art activities especially for kids under 5.

museums in sydney for kids

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is there parking facility available in Sydney museums?

Most museums do not have a dedicated parking space which is most often paid if available. For the museums in the Central Business District, there are plenty of paid public parking options available though.

Are Sydney Museums easily accessible through public transport?

Most of the museums are served by public buses. We recommend this option to save both time and money to make the most of your museum hunt in Sydney.

Are there any volunteering opportunities available in Sydney museums?

We tried looking but couldn’t find any specific information about this question for Sydney museums. You may want to call or write to the particular museum that interests you to find out more information.

What are the best free museums in Sydney?

The best free museums in Sydney include:

  1. Nicholson Museum
  2. Sydney Jewish Museum
  3. Museum of Contemporary Art
  4. Sydney Observatory – Day Visit
  5. The Mint
  6. Elizabeth Farm
  7. Art Gallery of New South Wales Museum

Which museums are the best to engage kids in creative learning?

Powerhouse Museum and Art Gallery of New South Wales Museums are two such venues where you can engage your kids in creative learning activities.

museums in sydney

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Want more suggestions on Museums in Sydney? Leave a comment below!

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