The best museums in Sydney

Deadly animals, hot rocks, mummified corpses and buried treasure – Sydney's museums are anything but boring. Here are ten to try...

Photograph: Daniel Boud

Not just places for school excursions and escaping the summer sun, Sydney’s museums are where you’ll uncover stories about the people who’ve made this city what it is today, its natural history and the science, design and innovation that’ll propel us into the future.

Australian Museum

Funnel webs, king browns, red backs, salties – find Australia's most deadly here, stuffed or behind glass. Laugh in mortality's face, glory in the wonders of natural history, and scare the rellies off your sofa bed and onto the next flight home.


Australian National Maritime Museum

Whether it's the Harbour, the beaches or Finding Nemo, Sydney's bound to the water like a babe to the breast. Circumnavigate the ANMM if you're keen jump aboard a submarine and live out all your Hunt for Red October fantasies.

Darling Harbour

Hyde Park Barracks Museum

Home to convicts, wastrel women, immigrants, law courts, a vaccine institute and a government printer, this place has seen it all. Discover the people who built this city and, if you're really quiet, hear their footsteps echo down the halls.


Justice & Police Museum

For history with a macabre twist of the knife, look no further. This old court house has seen many rapscallions sentenced for dastardly deeds. Spiked gates and winding stairways take you to pokey cells, murderous mug-shots and weapons to make the stomach turn.

Circular Quay

Macleay Museum

Home to a billion year old meteorite, the Macleay makes you feel triumphantly young whatever your age. High on your own youth you'll have oodles of energy to take in their extensive natural history collection


Museum of Sydney

Smack bang on top of the foundations of Australia's first Government House, the MOS is a celebration of the city's past, present and future. With video walls, poetry, storylines and panoramas out onto the city, this is a one-stop shop for visitors and curious locals.


Nicholson Museum

Its Victorian reserve is perfect for an exhibition that includes mummified bodies and body parts amongst the ancient objects. Haunting and beautiful, the Nicholson holds Australia's largest collection of antiquities and will entice even the most reluctant Indiana. 


Powerhouse Museum

This hotbed of science, design and innovation is big on hands-on exhibits for budding gadgeteers and button-pushers, as well as blockbuster fashion, design and pop-cultural exhibitions.


Sydney Jewish Museum

You can't exhibit grief but you can explore it. The SJM has the dignified space needed to take us through events of the Holocaust with respect, and ponder life's biggest issues.


Susannah Place Museum

The Rocks once teemed with working-class Aussies. Built in 1844, their terraces invoke humble glories and provide plenty of fodder for history buffs and nosy parkers.

The Rocks

Find more things to do around town

The Sydney Bucket List

Time Out Sydney's editors have selected our favourite things to do in Sydney right now, from activities that show off our city at its best – like kayaking on the harbour or taking high tea with a view – to our favourite weekly treats.

By: Time Out editors
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