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The 10 Best Museums for Adelaide’s Cultural Gems

The 10 Best Museums for Adelaide’s Cultural Gems

Adelaide has centuries of culture for you to dig in if you know where to look! Museums are aplenty in the city, featuring artifacts and pieces of classical history, sports, maritime culture, and more. 

Want to look for one that best suits your interest? Take a look at our list of the best museums in Adelaide to find the perfect match for you.

South Australian Museum

Website: https://www.samuseum.sa.gov.au/

Address: North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia

Contact details: +61 8 8207 7500

Operating hours: 

  • Sunday to Saturday- 10 AM-5 PM

If you’re going on a museum trip in Adelaide, the South Australian Museum should definitely be your first stop. The museum intricately weaves together Adelaide’s natural and cultural history with its fascinating pieces. 

Here, you can see the largest collection of Australian Aboriginal artifacts (more than 3,000!). It also features art made by contemporary Aboriginal artists known for their liberal use of vibrant patterns and colors. 

The museum is home to interactive and colorful showcases of Australian biodiversity. You’ll learn more about land and marine wildlife through galleries like Megafauna, Opalised Fossils, and Polar. 

Pro tip:
The South Australian Museum hosts top-notch temporary exhibitions and is often the preferred choice for international displays. Check their website in advance to see if the current exhibit piques your interest.

Museum of Economic Botany

Website: https://www.botanicgardens.sa.gov.au/

Address: Adelaide Botanic Garden, North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia

Contact details: +61 8 8222 9311

Operating hours: 

  • Sunday to Saturday- 10 AM-4 PM

Economics and botany—how do these come together? The Museum of Economic Botany answers this question by showing you how the plants you see in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens are transformed into everyday objects you can use!

Featuring more than 3,000 materials—some as old as 130 years—the museum is intriguing, immersive, and most of all, beautiful. 

Some of their best displays are paper mache fruit models that look just as appetizing as real-life ones! 

Fiona Hall’s Grove is a captivating display of wooden carvings and entrancing lights that portrays the life cycle of amphibians and birds in a way that tickles your senses. 

Pro tip:
There are many text guides explaining each museum artifact, and you might forget about half of what you learned once you leave! I recommend buying one of their souvenir books so that you’ll have something to reread after.

Samstag Museum of Art

Website: https://www.unisa.edu.au/connect/samstag-museum/

Address: Hawke Building, City West campus, 55 North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia

Contact details: +61 8 8302 0870

Operating hours: 

  • Tuesday to Saturday- 10 AM-5 PM
  • Sunday to Monday- Closed

Samstag Museum of Art is one of the best contemporary art spaces in Adelaide. Every corner is filled with eye-catching and mind-boggling pieces taking inspiration from different decades and cultures all over the world. 

From films to sculptures, their pieces have striking designs and messages.

The museum, owned and managed by the University of South Australia, is idiosyncratic in its inspirations, showing contemporary Aboriginal art, art from the 70s, and art representing queer culture. 

Pro tip:
Samstag Museum Art is disability-friendly. The museum has guide dogs and Auslan interpreters.

South Australian Maritime Museum

Website: https://maritime.history.sa.gov.au/

Address: 126 Lipson St, Port Adelaide SA 5015, Australia

Contact details: +61 8 8151 3260

Operating hours: 

  • Sunday to Saturday- 10 AM-5 PM

Do stories of seafarers navigating through uncharted waters fascinate you? If so, the South Australian Maritime Museum is the spot for you!

You’ll find seafarers’ cabins, life-sized replicas of boats, and displays of marine ecosystems here. 

What truly ties down all of the pieces and makes them feel much more alive are the tales of disasters and heroism attached to them. For instance, Wrecked! features stories of ocean tragedies, and Windjammers tells the tale of young sailors from the Finnish Baltic.

Pro tip:
The museum is small and only has 3 floors. Take your time at each display, as there are details that only a close look will reveal.


Website: https://mod.org.au/

Address: North Terrace, adjacent, Morphett St, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia

Contact details: +61 8 8302 6663

Operating hours: 

  • Tuesday to Saturday- 10 AM-5 PM
  • Sunday to Monday- Closed

MOD is ideal for science enthusiasts and techno-geeks. It has many immersive futuristic pieces that let you explore space, learn more about biology, and see the latest research regarding extraterrestrial life. 

What makes it such a fascinating museum is its integration of touchscreen, VR, and AI technology. These are used to tackle intriguing topics such as the ethics of science and cloning. 

I liked participating in “Ethos,” a roundtable discussion on the intersection of science and ethics. Here, you can chat with fellow science enthusiasts about thought-provoking science topics while sipping on wine.

Pro tip:
The lights and digital screens at MOD can make some people feel dizzy. Just inform your tour guide beforehand in case you have extreme sensitivity to light so they can guide you only to the highlights of the museum to make the trip shorter.

Adelaide Holocaust Museum and Steiner Education Centre

Website: https://ahmsec.org.au/

Address: 33 Wakefield St, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia

Contact details: +61 8 7089 5237

Operating hours: 

  • Tuesday to Thursday- 1 PM-4 PM
  • Sunday- 11 AM-3 PM
  • Friday to Saturday, Monday- Closed

Adelaide Holocaust Museum and Steiner Education Centre or AHMSEC houses well-preserved artifacts, testimonies, and stories of Holocaust survivors and victims. 

Established and run by survivors themselves, the museum aims to educate younger generations about the tragic stories of the Holocaust. At the same time, it also showcases the colorful culture of the Jewish people prior to World War 2. 

The museum’s approach to telling stories of the Holocaust is highly educational, compassionate, and engaging. It’s a great place for students to learn more about an important piece of history.

Pro tip:
Pre-booking is needed prior to entry into the museum, so be sure to have a reservation on the date you’ll be visiting.

The David Roche Foundation

Website: https://www.rochefoundation.com.au/

Address: 241 Melbourne St, North Adelaide SA 5006, Australia

Contact details: +61 8 8267 3677

Operating hours: 

  • Tuesday to Saturday- 10 AM-4 PM
  • Sunday to Monday- Closed

If you’re up for a display of regal sophistication and elegance, a trip to David Roche Foundation is a must. The museum showcases ornate furniture, ceramics, paintings, sculptures, clocks, and textiles from Britain, Russia, and France. 

The museum shows David Roche’s rich collection of fine art and antiques in his Fermoy House. Here, you’ll be transported to the house of elites of a past era. 

With over 3,500 items, the museum offers a wealth of sights to explore.

Pro tip:
You can also visit the Fermoy House online through their virtual tour, but it won’t beat seeing the displays up close. 

Adelaide Gaol

Website: https://www.adelaidegaol.sa.gov.au/

Address: Institute Building, corner of North Terrace and, Kintore Ave, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia

Contact details: +61 8 8203 9888

Operating hours: 

  • Sunday to Saturday- 10 AM-4 PM

Not too long ago (up to 1988), the Adelaide Gaol, one of Adelaide’s oldest and grisliest colonial buildings, operated as a prison. It witnessed a frightening 45 executions and 300,000 prisoners. 

Now, it’s a spooky place for brave tourists. They can do scavenger hunts, try escape rooms, or even have parties here.

The facility still has everything well-preserved, including its cells, mugshots, handcuffs, and locks. While it’s a bitter reminder of the past, the place has been converted to be child-friendly and safe for exploration.

Pro tip:
Adelaide Gaol is especially fun to visit at Halloween because they make it extra spooky. Some of the events include ghost tours, psychic fairs, costume parties for kids.

Army Museum of South Australia

Website: https://amosa.org.au/

Address: 16 Anzac Hwy, Everard Park SA 5035, Australia

Contact details: +61 8 7008 4112

Operating hours: 

  • Sunday- 12 PM-4 PM
  • Monday, Wednesday-11 AM-2 PM
  • Tuesday, Thursday-Saturday- Closed

The Army Museum of South Australia houses well-preserved military vehicles, weapons, and artifacts.

It showcases the authentic periscope rifles employed by soldiers during the campaign, allowing them to target enemies without exposing themselves from the parapet.

Also, check out the meticulously restored 18-pounder gun, which was used in both World Wars. 

The exhibits are thoughtfully accompanied by comprehensive background explanations, providing guests with a rich narrative about the heroic exploits of soldiers.

Pro tip:
Their “Blood, Sweat, and Fears” book collection, which details stories from South Australian Medical Practitioners who served in the World Wars, is a must-buy for any history enthusiast. It provides information on how the war quickly accelerated research in medicine.

The Bradman Collection

Website: https://www.adelaideoval.com.au/bradman-collection/

Address: Adelaide Oval, War Memorial Dr, North Adelaide SA 5006, Australia

Contact details: +61 8 8205 4700

Operating hours: 

  • Sunday to Saturday- 9 AM-4 PM

If you’re a fan of cricket, The Bradman Collection will definitely captivate your attention. Founded by Sir Donald Bradman, the museum features a rich collection of cricket memorabilia spanning from as early as 1927. 

Some of their notables are Bradman’s original cricket bats, his trophies, and his photographs. 

Additionally, it’s conveniently located in the Adelaide Oval, making it an ideal spot to visit before or after watching a game. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the sport, a visit here might just spark your curiosity.

Pro tip:
The displays are mostly memorabilia, so they may not interest most children. The museum isn’t recommended for a family trip. 

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