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Best Museums in Adelaide

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South Australian Museum

Offering numerous tours, including "behind the scenes" peaks of its highly-regarded natural history collections, the South Australian Museum is sure to delight and amaze. Serious students and wide-eyed novices alike will marvel at more than four million artifacts displayed in exhibits highlighting everything from Ancient Egyptian to Early Pacific cultures. Perhaps most impressive is the museum's collection of Aboriginal artifacts and archival material, the largest in the world. After learning about the rich histories and cultures that the museum chronicles, visitors can enjoy the on-site coffee shop and museum gift shop.

Adelaide, SA, Australia
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Art Gallery Of South Australia

Established in 1881, this historic and attractive Victorian building on leafy North Terrace holds one of the most extensive art collections in Australia. With an impressive collection of nearly 45,000 artworks, this revered art gallery is believed to comprise of the second-largest state art collection in the country. The museum's massive collection includes rare and valuable works that range from paintings and sculptures, to textiles and jewelry. While international artworks abound, the gallery is most well known for its notable Aboriginal art collections, the oldest of which date back to the 1800s. It also comprises of Australian artworks that revolve around pastoral themes, such as the kind manifested in Tom Robert's A break away!, or John Russell's A clearing in the forest. Both special and permanent exhibitions are held here.

Adelaide, SA, Australia
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Migration Museum

Adelaide's Migration Museum sits between the State Library of South Australia and the University of Adelaide in the attraction-packed city center. It aims to share South Australia's social history and promote multiculturalism through immigration and settlement exhibitions. Many of the museum's collections feature textiles and historical documents, while the site also offers artifacts like clothing, accessories, and miscellaneous relics. Stop by the Migration Museum to learn about the history and culture of the extraordinary communities that make up South Australia.

Adelaide, SA, Australia
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Tandanya

The only Aboriginal multi-arts complex in Australia, Tandanya was established with the aim of encouraging understanding through the arts. A giant snake dot-painting adorns the footpath at the front of the building, which houses sculptures, murals, and both traditional and contemporary artworks. Arrive at noon and you will hear the haunting sounds of the didgeridoo performed by one of the resident artists. Traditional dance, storytelling, and didgeridoo performances can be arranged by appointment. Also on site, an arts and craft shop sells authentic Aboriginal works while the Tandanya cafe offers distinctive Australian "bush-tucker" food.

Adelaide, SA, Australia
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Ayers House Museum

A grand colonial mansion named after its original owner and 19th-century State Premier, Sir Henry Ayers, Ayers House Museum illustrates Victorian life as lived “above & below stairs”. A property of the National Trust of South Australia, the house contains beautiful, decorative painted finishes on walls and ceilings throughout. Of particular note are the sumptuous State Dining Room and rare underground Summer Sitting Room. The house is furnished with a superb collection of period furniture and decorative arts. Located in the thriving area of Adelaide, Ayers House is a historic mansion not to be missed. Disabled access is to the the ground floor only.

Adelaide, SA, Australia
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South Australian Aviation Museum

Explore the fascinating history of flight with this unique South Australian Aviation collection-featuring 10 aircraft, 20 engines, six rockets and 20 display cabinets of rare artifacts. Operated by volunteers, the museum displays precious memorabilia and traces the history of early South Australian aviators, along with the Australian Women's Pilots Association. Of particular interest are rockets fired from the Woomera rocket range from 1950-1980, and the regular engine runs, where a variety of stationery aircraft engines are fired up for the public to observe.

Adelaide, SA, Australia
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National Railway Museum Port Adelaide

In 1856, the British Empire opened the first government owned steam railway. Known as the "Port Dock," the railway ran between Adelaide and Port Adelaide. Now residing on the site of the Port Dock station is Australia's largest undercover collection of locomotives, passenger carriages and freight vehicles. Every child's train-set dream come true-there are railway signals and gauges, steam-engines and diesel locomotives, plus a complete history of South Australian railways. You can even ride a three and a half kilometer steam railway journey along the foreshore!

Adelaide, SA, Australia
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South Australian Maritime Museum

Historic Port Adelaide has a rich seafaring tradition. With a visit to the South Australian Maritime Museum, you are transported back in time to witness the "romance" of sea travel. The early settlers suffered difficult conditions on their voyage to Australia and this is their story. The museum is delightfully interactive, enabling you to smell and hear the experience of early sea travel. Board a full-scale copy of a sailing ketch, visit an 1869 lighthouse, or see an original steam tug, the "Yelta." An afternoon at the South Australian Maritime Museum makes for a day well spent in Adelaide.

Port Adelaide, SA, Australia
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