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Melbourne Museum

  • Museums
  • Carlton
Melbourne Museum
Photograph: Robert Blackburn

Time Out says

This vibrant and award-winning museum is as big and beloved as the horse it houses

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

For recent initiates, the sheer scope of the permanent galleries (including one just for children) can be intimidating, but for those who aren't intent on digesting it all on one visit, the greatest treasures can be the tiniest and, like history itself, the most enlightening of surprises lurk in the dimmest corners and darker recesses.

Victoria's history is vividly evoked through artefacts, art and well-carved prose. Its ancient past is rekindled in the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, which presents Indigenous stories through objects, music and the voices of those past and present. Victoria's recent history is equally enjoyable, with the stuffed hide of Depression-era hero thoroughbred racehorse Phar Lap still the most popular exhibits with young and old alike.

Even the littlest Melburnians can get amongst the fun. Melbourne Museum opens an hour early on Tuesdays to Saturdays between 9am and 10am for a special sensory learning program aimed at one to three-year-olds. Play Box, presented by Biostime, introduces these kids to the museum with specific developmental programming. Bookings are recommended.

Don't leave without a visit to the taxidermy room and the Dinosaur Walk space. As well as the traditional pinned insects and dinosaurs, the Museum also has an open-air atrium teeming with plants and animals absorbing and refracting light. Stuffy this museum certainly ain't.


11 Nicholson St
Up to $15
Opening hours:
Daily 10am-5pm

What’s on

Fight For Survival

  • Exhibitions

In 1992, more than 50 Victorian schools were slated to close due to budget constraints. Among them was Northland Secondary College, a school with a large Aboriginal student body and an innovative Koori program. Staff, students and the community rallied around Northland and fought against the decision to shut the school, eventually leading to a hearing that decreed that the school could reopen for the 1994 school year. Melbourne Museum is highlighting this grassroots movement in an exhibition entitled Fight For Survival. The exhibition, which is showing at the Museum's Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, runs until July 11 and features photographs, artworks from former students and other historical material from the movement.  To book tickets to Fight For Survival, head to the Melbourne Museum website. 

Triceratops: Fate of the Dinosaurs

  • Exhibitions

Horridus the Triceratops has landed at Melbourne Museum with visitors able to visit the huge dino from March 12 as part of a brand new exhibition.  Triceratops: Fate of the Dinosaurs takes over two levels of Melbourne Museum in an exhibition that tracks the story of the dinosaurs from from the perspective of Horridus – i.e. that of a triceratops. Guests are plunged into the Cretaceus period for the exhibit, where they'll learn about the world in which Horridus lived and the creatures the dino lived alongside.  As part of the exhibition, you'll of course also be able to gaze in wonder at Horridus, the most complete triceratops skeleton in the world. This big guy comprises of 266 bones and tips the scales at more than 1,000kg. Museums Victoria's senior curator of vertebrate palaeontology, Dr Erich Fitzgerald, says: "Horridus the Triceratops is a simply spectacular fossil, with the science behind Triceratops revealed like never before. Until you’ve seen Melbourne Museum’s Triceratops, you haven’t seen Triceratops at all." In the exhibition visitors will also learn about the process of fossilisation and paleontology, tracking the story of the dinosaurs from Horridus's era right through to the modern day, where dinosaurs' descendants live among us as birds.  Entry to Triceratops: Fate of the Dinosaurs is free with museum entry. The exhibition opens March 12.  Recommended: learn more about Horridus the Triceratops.

Open Horizons: Ancient Greek Journeys and Connections

  • History

We owe much of modern western civilisation to the legacy of ancient Greece, which laid the bedrock for how we approach politics, philosophy, science and the arts. But what is it that influenced ancient Greek culture? Melbourne Museum seeks the answers in a new exhibition titled Open Horizons: Ancient Greek Journeys and Connections.  Showcasing a collection items from the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, it's the first time many of these artifacts have travelled from Greece to be hosted internationally. With 44 ancient works that date from the early bronze age to the Roman period, the exhibition highlights the trade of culture between Greece and its neighbours. Some of the key pieces on display include a beautifully preserved, 400kg sculpture of the head of Zeus, an impressive marble sphinx depicting a female head with the body of a winged lion, and a gold Theseus Ring discovered in the ancient city centre of Athens. "This is a rare opportunity to experience these exquisite objects from the most significant collection of Greek antiquity in the world," said Museums Victoria CEO Lynley Crosswell. "Many of the objects have never previously travelled outside of their homeland and it is a true privilege to be able to exhibit them here at Melbourne Museum." The exhibition is open to visitors until August 14, tickets are $15 for adults and free for members. For more information, head to the Melbourne Museum website. 

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