Australia has managed to become one of the most interesting countries of the world with its high wages, colourful people and its Outback experience. Yet these are not the only things that make the Aussies worth paying a visit to: their cultural establishments are also in great shape and they should be experienced first-hand. For this particular reason, we have compiled a list of three unmissable museums for you to discover and cherish.
1. Australian Museum:
Based in Sydney and dedicated to natural history and anthropology, the Australian Museum is the oldest museum of its parent continent. Featuring collections of mineralogy, palaeontology, anthropology, vertebrate and invertebrate zoology, it located at the point of convergence between William Street and College Street. Formerly known as the Colonial Museum, it was established in 1827 by Earl Bathurst. The reason why it could retain so many culturally significant artefacts is that they had launched new expeditions in the 1880s and 1890s to New Guinea, the Capricorn Islands, and the Solomon Islands. This led to a massive collection of specimens and items but the museum has ended up facing several overhauls during the course of its lifetime. In 1991, it has pushed forward several research programs such as the ones pertaining to conservation, biodiversity, evolutionary research, and geodiversity (with the addition of the “People and Places” special program). Besides its massive collection, you might want to check out their mobile application called “DangerOZ”, specifically built so that you may learn about the most dangerous animals of Australia. If you are into the natural beauty of Planet Earth, you might not want to leave this one out (wink)!
2. National Museum of Australia:
Australia, in spite of its initial colonial status, has a rich history and for this particular reason, it was only fitting that they should have a cultural establishment freezing its key moments in time and preserving them. Canberra’s National Museum of Australia does not just that but also explores the lives and culture of the indigenous people of the continent (in fact, it reaches as far back into the past as 50,000 years). This is the museum holding the most substantial collection of Aboriginal bark paintings in the world, the Holden prototype and the heart of Phar Lap (a champion racehorse). Brought into being by the “National Museum of Australia Act 1980”, it was built in such a way as to refer to other architectural marvels such as the Sydney Opera House and the terminal of the J. F. Kennedy Airport of New York. One of Canberra’s leading attractions, the museum is located right next to the Australian National University (you will find it on Acton Peninsula in the seemingly quiet suburb of Acton). To bring its grandiose ambitions into perspective, let us name a few past exhibitions that have captured the eyes of the world: In Search of the Birdsville Track: An Artist in the Outback; Horizons: The Peopling of Australia since 1788; Dhari a Krar: Headdresses and Masks from the Torres Strait; Utopia: The Genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye; Inside: Life in Children’s Homes and Institutions; and, of course, Papunya Painting: Out of the Australian Desert. We assure you that after exploring this fine museum, you are going to have an amplified respect for Australia’s indigenous population.
3. Art Gallery of New South Wales:
No country would be whole without an art museum, so let us bring Australia’s finest into perspective: the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Based in Sydney and established in 1874, it is located in The Domain (a 34-hectare open space located on the eastern edge of Sydney’s central business district). This will inadvertently put it close to the Woolloomooloo harbourside and we encourage you to explore its grandeur as well. So, back to the museum: it is one of the largest and most important art galleries in Australia nowadays. You will be happy to hear that there is no entry fee and that it encompasses a wide range of artists coming not only from Australia (including Aboriginals) but also from Europe, Asia, the Torres Strait Islands, and other places. Also, be sure that prior to visiting the establishment, you research what temporary exhibitions you might be in for. These will constantly change but they are well worth your research time. Important works on display include: Agnolo Bronzino’s “Cosimo I de’ Medici in armour”, Avalokiteshvara’s “Eleven headed 1000 armed Avalokiteshvara”, Francis Danby’s “The three sisters of Phaeton weeping”, Lord Frederic Leighton’s “Cymon and Iphigenia”, Elioth Gruner’s “Spring Frost”, Claude Monet’s “Port-Goulphar, Belle-Île”, and countless others. Know also that the museum has a number of facilities to accommodate visitors such as a café, a library with an archive, a gallery shop and even a restaurant. Definitely a must-experience!
Did you enjoy our list? Which of the aforementioned establishments have you visited and what did you like or dislike about them? Hit the comment section below and tell us all about it! Oh, and be sure to check back for some exciting updates soon! Safe travels!