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Museums and Art Galleries in Canberra

National Museum of Australia

Discover the place where our stories live. The Museum explores Australian history and culture — Indigenous history, landscape, people, and the journeys that connect Australia with the world. See the nation’s most popular and important objects — from Phar Lap’s heart and the Holden Prototype No.1 to bark paintings and ochre used by Aboriginal artists more than 50,000 years ago in the Gallery of First Australians. There are plenty of hands on experiences for the young and young at heart: try out the Trail Blazer treasure hunt — an exciting journey of discovery through the Museum’s galleries, step aboard one of the world’s oldest paddle steamers or record your own story and join the conversation about Australia’s past, present and future. A guided tour (fees apply) is a great way to fully appreciate the stories the Museum holds as the tour guides bring the objects to life.

Free general admission.

National Gallery of Australia

Visit the home of Australia’s National Art Collection which has more than 165,000 works and includes Australia’s largest collection of Indigenous Australian artwork. A great selection of the collection is on display. Famous artworks include Jackson Pollock’s Blue poles, Monet’s Nympheas (Waterlillies) and Sidney Nolan’s Ned Kellyseries. Wander through world-class exhibitions and the impressive Sculpture Garden with its drifting Fog sculpture. While outdoors take the time to enter American artist James Turrell’s impressive Within without Skyspace — best viewed at dawn or dusk. A changing line up of permanent and international exhibitions, as well as public programs and events, continues throughout the year. Wednesdays through Sundays, you can also see the Gallery’s contemporary art showcased in the NGA Contemporary space located along the lake foreshore.

Free general admission

Australian War Memorial

Visit one of the world’s great museums with your family and friends for a moving and unforgettable experience. Discover the diverse Australian experiences of war and reflect on their enduring impact. Connect with the stories of people and events that have shaped our nation. Throughout the year the Memorial is commemorating 100 years since the start of the First World War. Listen to the recordings of school children reading the names of those who died during the First World War in the commemorative area and see their names projected onto the building. See some of the world’s most significant military relics, such as the Lancaster bomber G for George, and experienceOver the front: the great war in the air, a film by renowned director Sir Peter Jackson. Learn more about Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan as told through the eyes and words of Australian servicemen and women and their families. Place a poppy on the Roll of Honour to remember the ultimate sacrifice made by Australian servicemen and women and stay for the moving Last Post closing ceremony.

Free admission.

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The Great War

Throughout history, War Memorials were erected to commemorate victories in battle, but today’s memorials are not to glorify war, but to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and to stand as a reminder of the horror of war

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Parliament House

One of the world’s most architecturally acclaimed buildings features an 81-metre flagpole with an Australian flag bigger than a double-decker bus. Take a lift up to the roof of the building for panoramic views of Canberra. Throughout the year, tours of the beautifully landscaped gardens are offered while year-round you can enjoy the renowned collection of Australian contemporary art. You can see your elected parliamentarians in action at Question Time from 2pm on sitting days (bookings required), or take a free guided tour, held regularly throughout the day, for a fascinating insight into happenings inside Australia’s most famous house.

Free general admission

Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House

A national icon and a building with historical significance, Old Parliament House celebrates the spirit of Australian democracy and the voice of the people. As home to the Museum of Australian Democracy it features a dynamic program of exhibitions, talks, festivals, debates and events. See personal mementos and defining moments of each of the Prime Ministers of Australia, take free guided tours and enjoy the cafe and bar.

Admission charge.

National Library of Australia

Visit the Treasures Gallery and see beautiful, rare and unexpected gems from the Library’s extraordinary collection. Displays change regularly to ensure there is always something new to discover. Throughout the year, there is an engaging and diverse events and exhibitions program as well as free behind-the-scenes guided tours. Visitors can access a vast collection of books, serials, manuscripts, photographs, music, oral histories, digital items and more. Browse the bookstore and grab a bite to eat at the bookplate cafe overlooking the lake.

Free admission

Royal Australian Mint

From a new viewing deck, gaze onto the factory floor to see how Australia’s coins are made and watch one of the world’s strongest robots in action at this Canberra attraction celebrating its 50th birthday. Navigate your way behind-the-scenes to learn about the coin production process. Discover Australia’s National Coin Collection with many rare and valuable coins on display. Make a coin yourself, find that perfect souvenir or add to your coin collection from the Mint Coin Shop, which features all the Mint’s new coin releases. Afterwards visit the cafe.

Free admission

National Portrait Gallery

Come face to face with the famous, the infamous and the sometimes forgotten icons of Australian history, from the distant past to the absolute present. Bushrangers and judges sit side by side, while prime ministers mingle with pop stars. The Gallery spaces host vibrant exhibitions, lectures, education programs and events and offer interactive Portrait Story tours.

Free general admission

Canberra Glassworks

Australia’s only cultural centre wholly dedicated to contemporary glass art welcomes visitors Wednesday through Sunday. The Glassworks is housed in the old Kingston Powerhouse, one of Canberra’s first buildings. Meet artists, see glassmaking as it happens on the Hotshop floor, view exhibitions, take a tour and have a hands on experience working with glass. Afterwards, grab a burger, coffee or cake from the popular Brodburger cafe.

Entry by donation

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