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...
Hyde Park Barracks Museum
Photograph: Supplied
By Time Out editors |
Advertising

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.

If you're looking for something more obscure, we've found six unusual museums in Sydney that are worth your time and money. 

Or take a tour of Sydney's most striking structures with these ten beautiful buildings

Sydney's best museums

1
Australian Museum
Museums, History

Australian Museum

icon-location-pin Darlinghurst

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.

2
Australian National Maritime Museum
Museums, History

Australian National Maritime Museum

icon-location-pin Darling Harbour

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.

Advertising
3
hyde-park-barracks-exterior-shot-01-a-sydney-living-museums-credit-stephen-antonopoulos.jpg
Museums, History

Hyde Park Barracks Museum

icon-location-pin Sydney

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.

4
Justice & Police Museum
Museums, History

Justice & Police Museum

icon-location-pin Circular Quay

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.

Advertising
5
Elizabeth Farm homestead
Photograph: Douglas Riley
Museums, History

Elizabeth Farm

icon-location-pin Rosehill

Parts of the original 1793 construction – the oldest surviving European building in Australia – remain. They also have the oldest surviving olive tree in the Museum's gardens. The interior has been restored to its 1830s condition, while the museum’s genteel tearooms are open weekends only between 10am and 4pm. 

6
Museum_of_Sydney--exterior.jpg
Museums, History

Museum of Sydney

icon-location-pin 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.

Advertising
7
Nicholson Museum
Museums, History

Nicholson Museum

icon-location-pin Camperdown

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. 

8
Powerhouse_Museum--train.jpg
Museums

Powerhouse Museum

icon-location-pin Ultimo

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.

Advertising
9
Jewish_Museum--exhibits.jpg
Museums, History

Sydney Jewish Museum

icon-location-pin Darlinghurst

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.

10
Susannah Place Museum
Museums, History

Susannah Place Museum

icon-location-pin The Rocks

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.

Take a walking tour of Sydney

Culture Scouts tour Sydney
Photograph: Emma Joyce
Things to do, Walks and tours

Sydney’s best tours

We’ve tried and tested Sydney’s best tours – from seaside foraging trails to urban graffiti walks – to bring you a list of tour operators who’ll help you discover the hidden gems of this city, whether you’re local or here to soak up the view. 

Advertising
This page was migrated to our new look automatically. Let us know if anything looks off at feedback@timeout.com