Australian Museum

Australian Museum, Sydney: Address, Phone Number, Australian Museum Reviews: 4/5

Australian Museum
4
About
The Australian Museum, opposite Hyde Park in Sydney has recently undergone a $56.5 million dollar refurbishment. Established in 1827, the Australian Museum, the nation’s first museum, is committed to its leading work in scientific research, STEM education and creating world-class exhibitions for Australian and international visitors alike. As the custodian of over 20,000 cultural objects held in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Collection and many thousands from across the Pacific, the AM is also an important site of cultural exchange and learning.
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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The area
Address
Neighbourhood: Inner East
How to get there
  • Museum • 6 min walk
  • St James • 6 min walk
Best nearby
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621 within 10 kms
Popular mentions

4.0
996 reviews
Excellent
389
Very good
391
Average
155
Poor
46
Terrible
15

Daniel Tan
Sydney, Australia44 contributions
Jan. 2022 • Couples
Really good place to hangout with love ones and family after a meal in the city, because thats what my partner and I did on a hot sunny day in the CBD. Favourite section is the natural photo competition exhibition which showcases the best photos of nature, wildlife etc. Place just renovated so its really comfortable and has really good artefacts.
Written 15 January 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

JnVSydney
Greater Sydney, Australia12,232 contributions
Sep. 2021
Located across from Hyde Park, stands this architecturally beautiful building that houses the natural history museum, it is actually the oldest museum in Australia, and well worth a visit to browse all the exhibits.
Written 19 November 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kufunda
3 contributions
Nov. 2021
Went to the Unsettled exhibition which lived up to its title. Very well displayed artefacts and sources of information which shared the untold and haunting story of Australian history from the perspective of the Aborigines. It was not crowded, so there was time to reflect at every turn. The information sheet supplemented the history lesson and was food for thought.
Written 12 November 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Karen M
Sans Souci, Australia412 contributions
Nov. 2021 • Solo
Have visited this museum twice in 12 months, two different seperate exhibitions.

Very Covid safe and well worth the time and it is free to visit and enjoy.

Pure talent and the atmosphere is great and people generally appreciate what is being exhibited.

All ages of talent do exhibit and notable work and passion.

Highly recommend for a day of cruising around the museum.

With a calming atmosphere 👌
Written 12 November 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

blackeldo
Kiama, Australia2,046 contributions
Aug. 2021
MEATLOAF’S RATING SYSTEM SHINES AGAIN.

ONE -It’s very good all round.
TWO - It shines in FAMILY ATTRACTION areas like dinosaurs and big animals++.
BUT 3 - it’s not the best museum I’ve visited by a long shot.

We often are forgiving when feeling nostalgic, recalling things as better than they were, flawless even. That’s how I felt before revisiting the AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM. See I ‘d been multiple times before with family and school excursions - and blown away by the dinosaur and big animal displays, thought it best museum in the world. But that was then: now, having seen better at the SMITHSONIAN MUSEUMS in DC and the NEW YORK’s MET, I rate it VERY GOOD but not EXCELLENT (mind you, it doesn’t hurt having an English billionaire as benefactor – explains the SMITHSONIANS excellence. The MET​​?: huge New York isn’t exactly short of wealthy supporters.).

Visitors will rate the AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM depending on which category they fit:
- RETURN VISITORS; if they came back when more easily impressed but subsequently have seen better, get set for some disappointment
- MUSEUM NERDS who visit the top example(s) at each destination: this is a good one but maybe not the best you’ve seen.
- FAMILY GROUPS will love this place. Kids are mad for dinosaurs and big rare animals. It was a weekend and displays showing these were crowded with family groups.
- SUCKERS FOR SPECIAL DISPLAYS: the AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM has these frequently. A very goood native Australian special display++ featured my visit (there is ALWAYS an Aboriginal/Torres St Islander exhibit but this one was expanded with borrowed and stored stuff).
- ARCHITECTURE WONKS; because the museum was recently expanded and refurbished, building nerds will find the place interesting. My impression: exterior additions have been well integrated and exteriors of older stone buildings look great when cleaned up++. But interior integration less so: movement between displays was not always as seamless as at other refurbished museums I’ve seen. But certainly the extensions have liberated more space – the entrance, lobby++, gift shop and cafe were particularly impressive.

TIPS:
- GENERAL ENTRY WAS FREE but I’m not sure this wasn’t a re-opening special. Check.
- SPECIAL DISPLAYS often have a small charge to cover acquisition, transport and setting up. But the aboriginal thing was free.
- the museum on the western fringe of the CBD is close to public transport, eats and the chance for some heavy duty retail therapy. Many attractions are nearby: a pretty short walk to the ART GALLERY OF NSW**, not much further to the BOTANIC GARDENS** and a short walk to the WAR MEMORIAL**.
- The museum’s GIFT SHOP is pretty comprehensive.
- the entrance changed with extensions: used to be COLLEGE ST; now on WILLIAM. Entry quick on a busy day.
-you could speed thru in an hour. We took our time at 2h, but you could linger way longer.

To close out, what could be better than a museum comment from that great philosopher YOGI BERA; “I’m lucky. Usually you’re dead to get your own museum, but I’m still alive to see mine”.

**TRIPADVISOR has separate review pages
++see photos
Written 11 November 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

JetJones
Jervis Bay, Australia67 contributions
May 2021 • Couples
Fun and cool, some amazing pieces, staff seemed fairly bored and disengaged, but definitely worth a visit. Beautiful building and some real world-class hidden treasures.
Written 16 June 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Terrazio T
Kiama, Australia12 contributions
May 2021
LEE CHILD IS NOT ALWAYS RIGHT.

“NEVER GO BACK” urges famous author LEE CHILD. Of course his creation, phlegmatic drifter JACK REACHER does go back – to the benefit of truth, justice and the safety of the free world.
Like in so much adventure literature, Jack pops another chill pill^^ and ignores this sage advice. Going back is a pretty well used device. I mean how many books, films etc feature small time expats made good in the big city and now returned to their small home town to sort out some issue?

But in the case of MUSEUMS? Well that depends. If you have been to one of the best but haven’t had time to check everything, by all means revisit. But if you have seen less than the best many times and one of the best subsequently, maybe a revisit to the former is not such a good idea.
But for a special exhibit you haven’t seen before, by all means return to also-rans. Ditto if the museum has had big architectural changes and you are into buildings big time.

The best nature museum I’ve visited is Washington’s SMITHSONIAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY**. I don’t know if this is world’s best but I was entranced. Originally I’d pencilled an hour there onto my crowded dance card – it was so good I staggered out after 3 hours determined to revisit to see stuff I’d missed or rushed.

Here’s the thing about the AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM – I must have visited half a dozen times when young, some with parents, some on school excursions. This place always blew me away – I particularly loved the dinosaurs and big animal exhibits.
But the SMITHSONIAN does these and a heap of other stuff so much better that my revisit to Sydney’s was frankly a tad disappointing.
Maybe it was the ABORIGINAL/TORRES ST. display – with NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) WEEK coming the museum had a special display - “UNSETTLED”. Which means some other displays had been removed or reduced. The indigenous stuff was very good but I have to say some was repetitive – the NSW ART GALLERY**, MCA**, MARITIME MUSEUM** etc had special displays too which duplicated things like aboriginal art and voyages/overlanding to Oz. People who visit only one museum won’t be bothered by this duplication, but a lot of visitors to town plan to do multiple places.

The most popular displays were the DINOSAUR and BIG ANIMAL halls. It was a weekend morning and so lots of families were in attendance. Little kids love dinosaurs etc and never get tired of checking them out – so people with this demographic should particularly ignore Child’s advice.

I scoped the new extension and was a bit underwhelmed. Sure this provides a lot of new space which is handy in public areas like reception and allows other museum areas to de-clutter. But compared to say the MCA or the ART GALLERY the interior and exterior are not as seamlessly integrated and are definite also-rans.
Building buffs might think differently and if architecture is their thing, of course they should revisit to check the new stuff.

TIPS:
- I’m not sure about the past, but for the time being GENERAL ENTRY IS FREE. The SPECIAL DISPLAYS often have a small charge to cover acquisition, transport and setting up costs. But to its credit entry to “UNSETTLED” was free.
- the museum is on the western fringe of the CBD so is close to public transport, eats and the chance for some heavy duty retail therapy. So many attractions nearby but It’s a pretty short walk to the ART GALLERY OF NSW** and a very short walk to the WAR MEMORIAL**.
- want to spend money? The museum’s GIFT SHOP is not exactly shabby.
- neither is the canteen/restaurant although getting there might strain yer navigational circuits.
- the entrance has changed with the extensions. It used to be on COLLEGE ST, but is now on BAHTURST ST.

SUM UP:
- for people like me who have seen best stuff elsewhere: if time is short maybe you should do something else on your retinue.
- for others: this is a good comprehensive museum. Not world’s best but pretty good. A lot of you will leave the place like me in the good old days – a bit gobsmacked.
And certainly if there is a special exhibition on like the aboriginal stuff and that’s your thing or if you are an architecture nerd interested in the new extensions - by all means a revisit may be the go.

^^probably a waste of time – they don’t come much chiller than Reacher.

**TRIPADVISOR has reader report pages on all.
Written 13 June 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Emanpee
Sydney, Australia2,605 contributions
Jun. 2021
We took advantage of the free entry to both the museum and current exhibition Unsettled. On the exhibition, while I am in the camp "we are all Australians, let's get on with it together", the exhibition and its story of British settlement in Australia and its impact on the indigenous population s compelling. I'm not sure about the tag line "untold history revealed" but is well put together for both informed and uninformed. More for adults. As for the museums general displays, they remain similar but improved in the revamped buildings. Kids will be entralled, can't wait for the grandkids to visit! Plenty to see and can easily occupy 2-3 hours.
Written 4 June 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Leigh B
Greater Sydney, Australia1 contribution
May 2021
We visited the museum yesterday, for the first time in nearly 20 years. It was terrible. The signage is confusing, the lifts were slow, the cafe had zero food, and the exhibitions are minimal. The revamp is not an improvement. The old museum used to be full of exhibits. Where have all the exhibits gone? The exhibits that are there are highly politicized. If I'd had to pay entry I would have been really annoyed. Ongoing, entry to a museum should be free, like a library, it is an educational resource that should be available to everyone, to delight in science, without being preached at. I only wish this review score could be lower.
Written 29 May 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

galaga_girl
Bermagui, Australia3,696 contributions
May 2021
Entry is Free and we had a wonderful time. I took my 5yo Daughter and she was stunned by almost every room. Lots of fascinating things to see and do, heaps of hands on stuff for kids and the Dinosaur play area is great.

Will be back next time I'm in Sydney for sure.
Written 16 May 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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