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Melbourne Museum
Photograph: Robert Blackburn

The best museums in Melbourne

From the history of Indigenous Australia to our country's proud sporting past, these Melbourne museums celebrate Australia's rich background

By Time Out editors

Forgotten everything you learned during those school excursions? These Melbourne museums will help you uncover stories about the people who made this city what it is today: a bustling hub of culture, coffee and sporting greats. 

While you're here, why not take a look at 25 tourist attractions that definitely don't suck or our guide to finding Melbourne's best street art

Must-see museums for visitors

Exterior of the Melbourne Museum and Royal Exhibition Building.
Photograph: Josie Withers

1. Melbourne Museum

Museums Carlton

A glorious, sprawling space filled with themed displays, interactive areas, Imax cinemas, postmodern art and no end of surprises, Melbourne Museum rewards first-time visitors and repeat patrons equally.

2. Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre

Museums Carlton

A venue within Melbourne Museum, Bunjilaka was developed to empower Aboriginal people to interpret their own cultural heritage for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Here you can celebrate the vibrant cultures of Indigenous Australia with exhibitions about traditional performances, storytelling rituals and artworks. 

Scienceworks kids
Eamon Gallagher

3. Scienceworks

Museums Spotswood

This interactive science and technology museum is geared towards getting children excited about science through first-hand experiences. There are guided tours, changing exhibitions, demonstrations and special activities daily. The Planetarium, with its huge domed ceiling replicating the night sky, is always a huge hit. Over in the Sportsworks exhibit kids can try to beat Cathy Freeman or try out what it's like to snowboard. Scienceworks is also an autism friendly museum with social scripts and maps showing high and low sensory spaces in the museum available on their website. 

4. National Sports Museum

Museums Melbourne

Bradman's baggy green cap. Bart Cummings' collection of Melbourne Cups. Cathy Freeman's swift suit from her gold-medal winning run in Sydney 2000. These items are more than mere sporting memorabilia, they are touchstones in the forging of a national identity.


5. Chinese Museum

Museums Melbourne

Located in the middle of Melbourne's Chinatown, the Chinese Museum's five floors include a visitor centre, a Dragon Gallery displaying three generations of Chinese dragons and the ‘Finding Gold’ below-ground experience.

6. Immigration Museum

Museums Melbourne

Using first-hand accounts, real-life imagery and memorabilia, the true stories of people who have migrated to Victoria are recounted in this fascinating Melbourne museum. It's housed inside a magnificently restored building that, between 1858-70, acted as Melbourne's own Customs House, gateway to the fledgling colony.

Jewish Museum Melbourne
Photograph: Mitch Moore

7. Jewish Museum of Australia

Museums St Kilda

Using interactive displays, prized artefacts and a rich program of educational events, this museum tells the moving and inspirational tales of Melbourne and Australia's Jewish community from the earliest days of European settlement. A special chapter of the Museum dedicated to Holocaust history has survivors sharing their stories, while elsewhere you'll find respected contemporary art exhibitions and displays and celebrations of Judaism's rich calendar of festivals and holy days.

Outside at Hellenic Museum
Photograph: Gordon Makryllos

8. Hellenic Museum

Museums History Melbourne

Although the Hellenic Museum is relatively young, Melbourne’s Greek heritage goes way back. And the artefacts on display at the beautiful Hellenic Museum go seriously waaaaay back. We’re talking Corinthian Gobulars as old as 600 BC. These incredible portals into another time can’t be seen anywhere else in Melbourne – not in permanent exhibitions anyway. And to think all these objects are from one man’s private collection: art historian AD Trendall. Learn about the first Greek-Australians, some of whom arrived as convicts, early settlers and gold diggers. And others who arrived during the Australian Government’s migration scheme in the '50s and '60s.

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