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The best museums of Sydney

The best museums of Sydney

Sídney, one of the Australian cities with more cultural activities, has almost 200 museums. As it is very difficult (although not impossible) to visit all of them if you don’t live there, we have selected the best museums of Sydney, the ones you cannot miss.

Shall we start? Take good note of them!

1. Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA)

One of the best places you can visit in Sydney is the MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art), located in the former Maritime Services Board building, in the middle of the city’s business area. The museum was created from the legacy of John Power, a man who donated his private art collection to the University of Sydney with the objective of informing and educating the Australians about international contemporary art.

The MCA displays, collects and interprets modern art and contemporary Aboriginal art. Visiting this museum will take you some time, because it has more than 7000 pieces from Aboriginal artists and from the most prominent avant-gardes in all its possible forms: sculptures, paintings, engravings, films, lithographs…

Address: 140 George Street, The Rocks NSW 2000, Australia.

2. Art Gallery of New South Wales (NSW)

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is one of the most important and most visited museums of Australia. It is just within a five minutes’ walk from the Sydney city centre, inside the gardens of The Domain. Inside of it, there are up to 30 annual exhibits, in addition to a permanent collection of Aborigine and Asiatic art, photography, European art and pieces of contemporary art made by Australian or international artists. Moreover, the museum is conceived as a cultural meeting place and many events are held there, for instance, the Archibald Prize, dedicated to young talents.

Address: Art Gallery Rd, The Domain 2000, Sydney.

3. Australian Museum

If you love animals and, in particular, dinosaurs, get ready to have a good time! This museum about the flora, the fauna, the minerals, the fossils and the unique cultures of Australia and the Pacific is among the most complete ones of the city.
The Australian Museum is one of the best places to find information about the Pacific Islands, Asia, Africa and America, along with elements from the Aborigine culture, such as toys that belonged to Aborigine kids or one chalk-tattooed head from the Solomon Islands. It is highly recommended for families with kids thanks to its didactic information about local animals (many of them are represented by stuffed animals).

Address: Australian Museum, 1 William Street, Sydney NSW 2010.

4. Australian National Maritime Museum

The history of Sydney has always been linked to its port and the sea, so it comes as no surprise that the ANMM (American National Maritime Museum) is one of the best museums related to the marine treasures of Australia. Its collection comprises topics such as exploration, defence, commerce, extreme sports and games. You can visit a submarine, the so-called “HMAS Onslow”, and if you are lucky enough to see the exhibition that is held in the port, you can see the 1874 ship of James Craig and the wonderful copy of the HMB Endeavor of the Captain Cook.

Address: 2 Murray Street, Darling Harbour, Sydney NSW 2000.

5. Hyde Park Barracks Museum

The Hyde Park Barracks Museum, declared a World Heritage Site, was once one of the most important convict places in the world. At first, this station was employed for sheltering British convicts that were sent to Australia. Later on, it was the point of arrival for groups of women who came from Europe, and a safe place of asylum for old and helpless women. Finally, it became the headquarters of the court and the offices of the New South Wales government. At the moment, it is a museum that shows the history of that place related to immigration.

During your visit, you can get to know the daily life that convicts had in this historical building, as well as live the convict experience by laying on one of the hammocks where prisoners lived.

Address: Queens Square, Macquarie Street. Sydney, NSW 2000.

6. Museum of Sydney

This museum is located inside one of the most historic buildings of Sydney. It was the headquarters of the first Government House, built in 1788 by the governor Arthur Phillip, and the home of the first nine governors of New South Wales.

MOS offers a combination of state-of-the-art facilities and ever-changing exhibits. A giant video clip covers the whole building and it shows the development of Sydney. This place was also the first point of contact between the Gadigal people (Sydney’s first inhabitants) and the First Fleet, so there you can also see a wide exhibit about the colonization.

Address: Cnr Phillip and Bridge Streets, Sydney, NSW 2000

7. Nicholson Museum

The biggest collection of antiques of the southern hemisphere is in the University of Sydney. Sir Charles Nicholson (one of the founders of this University) created it in 1860 from his antiques private collection, composed of objects he had bought during his travels around Egypt and Europe. Since then, Nicholson Museum has grown in size and it has wider collections. Nowadays you can see almost 30,000 objects of artistic and archaeological interest from Egypt, Greece, Italy, Cyprus and the Near East.

Address: Manning Rd, Camperdown NSW 2006.

8. Powerhouse Museum

A former power station is the principal building of the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences (MAAS). With a collection of 385,000 objects, 22 permanent exhibition halls and more than 250 interactive exhibits, this museum is about science, technology, creativity and decorative arts. The permanent exhibitions include interactive screens, experiments and transportation, but the thing that will likely surprise you the most is a steam locomotive from the 1850s and a steam engine from 1785.

Address: 500 Harris Street, Ultimo, NSW 2007.

As you can see, besides being a multicultural city and having a worldwide known Opera House, Sydney also stands out for its museums.

Those are only seven of them, but there are many more! In the Museums & Galleries of New South Wales website you can find all the information you may need to visit them: location, opening hours and cultural events held.

Where can I exchange my currency in Sydney?

The currency in Australia is the Australian dollar. You can get it at any of the 21 branches that Global Exchange has at Sydney International Airport.

Moreover, wherever you live, if you travel to this city you can pre-order your Australian dollars in its webpage with a 50% discount on the exchange margin.

Web de Global Exchange Australia

Celia López

Author of “Quaderns de bitàcola”, a blog about touring around the world and travelling across the five continents. Having visited over seventy countries, I like to give useful information about the destinations, travel guides and to describe my feelings and impression of the places I have been so that anyone can plan their own trip. My biggest hobby and motto is: “I do not content with having it explained to me, I want to see it with my own eyes".

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