Discover where Australia’s stories come alive at the National Museum of Australia. Located on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, the National Museum’s stunning architecture offers visitors an extraordinary place to explore the rich and diverse stories of our country and our people.
The National Museum of Australia opened in 2001 in a building designed by Australian architects Ashton Raggatt McDougall and Peckvonhartel, following an international design competition. The building reflects the many intertwined stories that make up Australia’s history. One of these tangled threads is represented in the dramatic orange loop that rises 30 metres above the Museum’s entrance. The building design won the prestigious Blueprint Architecture Award for the world’s Best New Public Building of the Year in 2001.
The National Museum of Australia is the place to get to know the real, the treasured, the surprising and the inspirational objects from Australian history. See some of the nation’s most popular and important objects, from Phar Lap’s heart and Holden Prototype No. 1 to bark paintings and a piece of ochre used by Aboriginal artists over 50,000 years ago.
The Museum tells the story of Australia’s history across five galleries: Eternity, Old New Land, Landmarks, First Australians and Journeys.
The Eternity gallery brings to life the personal stories of 50 ordinary and extraordinary Australians.
The Old New Land gallery examines Australia’s diverse and unique species and environments by exploring how people have responded and adapted to the land over time.
The Journeys gallery explores the fascinating journeys of people and objects that connect Australia to the world.
The Landmarks gallery is located over two levels and features over 1,500 objects. It explores Australian history since European settlement, through stories of Australian places across the continent.
The First Australians gallery is located over two levels and traces the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their spirituality, diversity, identity and survival.
Open Collections takes you behind the scenes to view more than 2000 objects from the Museum’s Indigenous collections, including many artefacts rarely seen by the public. Open every day for 15 minutes on the hour, 10am–4pm.
A visit to the National Museum of Australia is the perfect outing for families as many exhibits engage children in learning through hands-on experiences. The Museum has fantastic school holiday programs, including special workshops related to our exhibitions and collections, in which kids can create artworks and pieces to take home, and special activities and performances linked to major events and festivals around the country.
On a daily basis, kids can get excited about the Trailblazer activity, which takes each young explorer on a 30–40-minute self-guided tour through the Museum, using a special pack available at the Information Desk in the Main Hall. The goal is to help children navigate as many galleries as possible to learn as much as they can about Australian history through different stories and objects on display. With sticker rewards and an activity booklet to take on the trip, the kids will certainly be entertained and will definitely learn something!
Kspace is the Museum’s new interactive adventure game for kids. In this brand new experience, children will build their own time travelling robot then blast off to explore a mystery location in Australia’s past. It is open to school groups and general visitors seven days a week at specified times. Remember to check the session times and booking requirements for this one, as it is very popular among school groups and families.
A great way to experience the Museum is to take a guided tour through the Museum’s many exhibitions (fees apply). The Museum’s expert hosts will bring stories to life and reveal the history behind the objects on display. For something special, try the Ultimate Museum Experience. Enjoy a meal with a glass of wine in the Museum’s stunning waterfront cafe, peruse the collections with a personalised tour and receive 10% off purchases at the Museum Shop! A museum experience doesn’t get much better than this. You can choose either a one-hour Museum Highlights Tour (10 am or 1 pm) or a one-hour First Australians Tour(3 pm) to include in your package.
Stop by the Museum’s shop to find unusual and high quality homewares, arts and crafts, fashion accessories, Aboriginal giftware, gourmet treats and more. With prices to suit every budget you’re sure to leave with a souvenir.
The National Museum of Australia is truly a not-to-be missed experience when visiting Canberra.
Opening Hours 9am to 5pm daily (closed Christmas Day). Free general entry.
Lawson Crescent, Acton Peninsula, Canberra; Freecall 1800 026 132; nma.gov.au