Visiting Museums in Melbourne

Art, maritime archaeology, history and literature. Find out how to make the most of the museums in Melbourne...

Melbourne has a variety of museums and art galleries displaying Victoria's cultural and natural heritage, as well as museums specialising in Aboriginal history, immigration and maritime archaeology.

Museums in Melbourne are often closed on Good Friday, Christmas Day and New Year's Day, so it is advisable to check before visiting. For most of the museums listed below, tickets can be purchased online through the website.

Scienceworks: Interactive science and technology museum where hands-on participation is encouraged. In addition to the temporary exhibitions and special events, there are live demonstrations, shows and guided tours.

  • Scienceworks
    At: 2 Booker Street, Spotswood, VIC 3015
    Tel: 03 9392 4800
    Open: Every day from 10:00-16:30

Melbourne Museum: Eight galleries showcasing Australian social history, indigenous cultures, science, history and the environment, with an emphasis on interactive exhibits. It is also home to the Melbourne IMAX cinema showing films and documentaries in 2D or 3D.

  • Melbourne Museum
    At: Carlton Gardens, 11 Nicholson St, Carlton, VIC 3053
    Tel: 13 11 02
    Open: Every day from 10:00-17:00

Also housed within the Melbourne Museum building is the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, which has a significant collection of Aboriginal heritage items, exhibition and performance spaces and cultural events throughout the year.

National Gallery of Victoria: Set within Melbourne's Arts Precinct, the NGV is Australia's oldest public gallery and is made up of two galleries, the NGV International and the Ian Potter Centre. Entry is free-of-charge to the permanent collection for both galleries.

The NGV International houses Australia's largest collection of international art, and includes pieces by artists such as Rembrandt, Monet, Modigliani, Bacon, Turner, Picasso, Hockney, and more. It also has a collection of decorative arts, and has the world's largest stained-glass ceiling.

  • NGV International
    At: 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
    Tel: 03 8620 2222
    Open: 10:00-17:00, closed Tuesdays

The Ian Potter Centre is home to a diverse collection of Australian art from the Colonial Period to the present day.

  • Ian Potter Centre
    : Federation Square, Corner Russell & Flinders Streets, Melbourne
    Tel: 03 8620 2222
    Open: 10:00-17:00, closed Mondays

Immigration Museum: Situated in the Old Customs House building in Melbourne CBD, the Immigration Museum tells the story of those who migrated to Australia. In addition to its collection of memorabilia and images, visitors can discover the Long Room, an example of Renaissance revival architecture.

  • Immigration Museum
    At: Old Customs House, 400 Flinders Street, Melbourne, 3000
    Tel: 13 11 02 / 03 9927 2700
    Open: Daily from 10:00-17:00

Chinese Museum: Situated in Melbourne's Chinatown district, the museum documents Australia's Chinese history. International and local exhibitions, cultural events and art shows take place throughout the year.

  • Chinese Museum
    At: 22 Cohen Place, Melbourne, 2000
    Tel: 03 9662 2888
    Open: Daily from 10:00-17:00

Polly Woodside Maritime Museum: Located in South Wharf, the Polly Woodside is a late nineteenth century sailing ship, now a museum and event space.

Heide Museum of Modern Art: Museum of modern and contemporary art, architecture and landscape. The collection includes works by Sidney Nolan and Albert Tucker, and visitors can discover sculptures and vegetable gardens in the grounds. Various events and exhibitions are held throughout the year. Free tours are available.

Sovereign Hill: Outdoor museum in Ballarat which is a reconstruction of a gold-mining township as it was during the gold rush of the 1860s. Attractions include a working mineshaft, gold panning, mine tours, candle making, horse drawn carriages and music shows. All museum staff wear period costume.

  • Sovereign Hill
    : 39 Magpie Street, Ballarat, 3350
    Tel: 03 5337 1100
    Open: Daily from 10:00-17:00