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La Trobe Reading Room in State Library of Victoria
Photograph: Mark Chew

Cheap Melbourne: Museums and galleries

Turn off the Discovery Channel and explore for real at one of these cheap museums and galleries around Melbourne

Written by
Time Out editors
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The history of Melbourne goes way back and you don’t need to hit the history books to know it. Hit one (or more) of these places instead to learn about Melbourne's significant past and make a fun day out of it. 

Looking for more cheap experiences in Melbourne? Here is our guide to all the cheap (and free!) things to do around town

Cheap museums and galleries in Melbourne

  • Art
  • Galleries
  • Southbank

This grand modernist building on St Kilda Road is Australia's oldest and most popular art museum. That title has been won thanks to the gallery's top-notch and diverse permanent collection, the fantastic visiting collections and an ongoing series of additional events aimed at locals and tourists alike. The permanent collection includes a Picasso, a Rembrandt, a Bonnard and a Tiepolo – not bad for a gallery that's only been around since the mid-1800s. And you can visit the permanent collection for absolutely free, every day of the week.

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Victoria Police Museum
  • Museums
  • Docklands

Stories about Melbourne's underworld, cunning criminals and the role Victoria's coppers have played in protecting our city throughout history abound at this free museum, which houses forensic evidence, crime scene photos and Kelly gang armour.

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  • Shopping
  • Melbourne

Located inside Melbourne Central, the Coops Shot Tower is one of only three 19th century shot towers remaining in Australia. The second level houses a small, free museum on the history of shot manufacture.

More thrifty thrills in Melbourne

  • Things to do

They say the best things in life are free. We're not 100 per cent on board with that sentiment (have you had a perfectly prepared cocktail? That ain't cheap), but not everything in Melbourne has to cost a bunch of money. From art shows to wine tastings, there are a bunch of things to do in this fine city that you can do for free. Yep, free. Zilch. Nada. Zero dollars. 

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