Museum-Hopping in Melbourne: 31 Top Museums in Melbourne to Visit in 2024

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Article written by: Rebecca
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If you haven’t heard already, Melbourne is Australia’s Culture Capital. So, as you can imagine, we have plenty of Melbourne museums, galleries and attractions to show off all that culture. From history to art to photography to heritage, there’s something for everyone.

And even if you’re not usually into museums, I bet there’s something on this list that will tickle your fancy.

Personally, I love a good museum – and I particularly love a quirky museum that’s on a niche topic.

Here, I’ve curated a list of the must-visit museums, the coolest museums, the quirkiest museums in Melbourne to add to your itinerary. There are the big name museums that you’ve already heard off, but also some hidden surprises. So, take a look through these Melbourne museums and discover something new or different about this special city.

This blog post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you).

1. NGV International

The NGV is one of the best museums in Melbourne - they have interesting exhibitions like this one which shows a larger than life human skull in front of three paintings on a wall. A man in a black t-shirt and khaki pants is looking at one of the paintings.

The OG and granddaddy of Melbourne museums, the NGV is our must-visit museum. It’s the oldest museum in Australia and boasts a collection of more than 73,000 works of art from around the globe.

The NGV has a rotating program of world-class exhibitions, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, textiles and decorative arts. The variety of exhibitions means visitors can always find something that piques your interest – even if you reckon you’re not into art. It’s one of the top things to do in Melbourne, whether it’s your first visit to the city or you’re a local.

The NGV also has several permanent collections, including contemporary art, fashion and textiles, Asian art and Australian art. There are daily guided tours to get a deeper insight into the history and context of each collection.

To finish up your visit at the NGV, there’s a gift shop that stocks unique souvenirs and beautiful art books, as well as a range of dining options, including a daily high tea.


Address: 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne
Opening hours: Daily, 10am to 5pm
Cost: Free entry, some paid exhibitions

2. Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia

The Ian Potter Centre is known for its Australian art, particularly Indigenous art. A frame from a still movie at an exhibition at the gallery shows three Indigenous people with white painted faces and skin cloaks around their shoulders. They are in a canoe by the water.

The sister museum to the NGV, the Ian Potter Centre focuses purely on Australian art. It’s home to the world’s largest collection of Australian art, representing over 200 years of artistic expression across a variety of mediums.

Conveniently located at the iconic Federation Square, the museum has both permanent and temporary exhibitions, showcasing works by some of Australia’s most renowned artists, including Sidney Nolan, Arthur Streeton, and Fred Williams.

One of the standout features of the Ian Potter Centre is its dedication to showcasing Indigenous Australian art. There’s a stunning display of artwork by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, offering a deeper understanding of the history, culture, and traditions of Australia’s First Nations peoples.

The most recent exhibition I saw here was a stunningly moving and immersive exhibition by Yorta Yorta / Wamba Wamba / Mutti Mutti / Boonwurrung artist Maree Clarke.


Address: Federation Square, Melbourne
Opening hours: Daily, 10am to 5pm
Cost: Free entry, some paid exhibitions

3. Immigration Museum

The outside of the Immigration Museum in Melbourne at dusk

Melbourne is a multicultural city, and the Immigration Museum is a must-visit to learn more about our beautiful mix of cultures and heritages. It’s aptly housed in the beautifully restored nineteenth-century Customs House, one of the city’s most grand buildings.

The museum tells the story of how Melbourne became a multicultural hub, from the First Nations people whose traditions began more than 60,000 years ago to the arrival of the first settlers to the present day. With interactive displays (including an exhibit where you “interview” prospective migrants), immersive exhibitions and personal stories, you’ll gain a deep understanding of the challenges and triumphs experienced by those who have made Melbourne their home.

It’s a really carefully curated museum that shares the stories of people from all walks of life, and I can guarantee you’ll learn a lot – I was surprised by how much I didn’t know about my own city until I visited here!

(There’s even a great Melbourne food tour that starts at this museum.)


Address: 400 Flinders St, Melbourne
Opening hours: Open daily, 10am to 5pm
Cost: Adults $15

4. Koorie Heritage Trust

The outside of the Koorie Heritage Trust, which houses Indigenous artefacts in a building at Federation Square

If you’re looking to gain a deeper understanding of the rich cultural heritage of the First Nations peoples of Australia, the Koorie Heritage Trust is an absolute must-visit when in Melbourne. This museum is dedicated to preserving and sharing the culture and history of Victoria’s Aboriginal communities.

The Koorie Heritage Trust boasts an extensive permanent collection of artwork, artifacts and historical documents, providing visitors with an immersive and engaging experience that brings to life the traditions and histories of Koorie peoples. You’ll learn about the incredible art, music, dance and storytelling traditions that have been passed down through generations, as well as the struggles and triumphs of one of the oldest continuous cultures in the world.

I highly recommend joining the Birrarung Wilam (River Camp) Walk held a few times each week to learn how the land on which Melbourne is located has changed over time and about the significance of the Birrarung Wilam to the local Kulin peoples. It’s one of the best things to do to learn about Indigenous Australia in Melbourne.


Address: Federation Square, Melbourne
Opening hours: Daily, 10am to 5pm
Cost: Free entry

5. Melbourne Museum

Inside the Melbourne Museum's First Peoples exhibit, with a large sign that says First Peoples in yellow and red on a black and red background

The Melbourne Museum is another that I highly recommend visiting. It’s one of the best things to do with kids in Melbourne, but it’ll also keep adults entertained.

The museum tells the story of Victoria, from its First Nations peoples to our modern-day history, with collections ranging from Indigenous culture to natural history, immigration, sports and more. Many exhibits are interactive so you could actually end up spending hours here!

There are a number of permanent exhibitions but also regularly rotating exhibitions, as well as the IMAX Melbourne theatre.

My expert tip: Spend some time at the Milarri Garden Trail. This outdoor garden showcases native plants that are important to Indigenous Australians. It’s usually pretty quiet here.


Address: 11 Nicholson St, Carlton
Opening hours: Daily, 9am to 5pm
Cost: Adults $15


The sign for ACMI with the letters in white on a large red background

If you’re interested in film, television, video games or any of the moving image arts, you absolutely can’t miss visiting ACMI (which stands for the Australian Centre for the Moving Image). It’s a one-of-a-kind museum that explores the incredible, constantly-evolving world of moving image art.

With multiple spaces, ACMI has a wide range of exhibitions that explore everything from classic cinema and television to the latest in digital art and video gaming – and many of them are interactive and immersive. Here you’ll be able to do everything from look at costumes from blockbuster films, play old-school video games and make your own flip book.


Address: Federation Square, Melbourne
Opening hours: Daily, 10am to 5pm
Cost: Free entry, some paid exhibitions/cinema sessions

7. Scienceworks

A little harder to get to because it’s not in the CBD, Scienceworks is worth the extra effort. The museum is where science and technology come alive, and there are a tonne of interactive exhibits, live demonstrations and hands-on experiments that are sure to captivate visitors of all ages.

It’s housed in a heritage-listed building that was once home to the Melbourne Electric Supply Company, which was responsible for powering the city’s trams and electric lighting. The museum showcases the history of science and technology in Australia, starting from the early days of electricity all the way to modern times.

One of the coolest exhibits is the Lightning Room, where you can witness lightning in action. The museum also has an impressive planetarium that offers a mesmerising journey through the stars, galaxies and beyond. Visiting Scienceworks is a great rainy day activity in Melbourne!


Address: 2 Booker Street, Spotswood
Opening hours: Daily, 10am to 4.30pm
Cost: Adults $15

8. Old Melbourne Gaol

Inside the Old Melbourne Gaol - one of the creepiest museums in Melbourne! - five people walk along the gangway on a tour

Are you looking for a museum experience that’s a little bit different, a little bit creepy? Look no further than the Old Melbourne Gaol. This historic site was once a prison, housing some of Australia’s most notorious criminals, including the infamous bushranger Ned Kelly.

The gaol has been preserved to give visitors an immersive experience of what life was like behind bars in the 19th century. You can explore the cells, see where executions were carried out and learn about the harsh conditions prisoners faced.

There are also some spine-tingling ghostly night tours if you really want to freak yourself out in one of the most haunted places in Melbourne!


Address: 377 Russell Street
Opening hours: Daily, 10am to 5pm
Cost: Adults $35

9. Shrine of Remembrance

The outside of the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, a sand-coloured stone building
Image: Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne

When visiting Melbourne, don’t forget to add the Shrine of Remembrance to your itinerary. This war memorial is one of the best history museums in Melbourne and is a powerful tribute to the soldiers who have fought for Australia and its allies. The Shrine stands tall and proud, overlooking the Royal Botanic Gardens and is one of the most significant landmarks in the city.

Inside, you’ll discover a vast and moving collection of exhibits, including personal stories, photographs and artifacts, depicting the experiences of Australian soldiers during wartime. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of Australia’s war history, and the sacrifices made by brave soldiers, not only for their country but for the world.

There are also daily tours that provide insights into the fascinating history of the memorial and its purpose.


Address: Birdwood Avenue
Opening hours: Daily, 10am to 5pm
Cost: Free (donations welcome), guided tours: $20 for adults

10. Old Treasury Building

The outside of the imposing Old Treasury Building in Melbourne, which houses an interesting museum

For a glimpse into Melbourne’s fascinating past, look no further than the Old Treasury Building. A historic site that dates back to the 1850s, this beautiful building was once the heart of Victoria’s financial operations. Today, it has been converted into an immersive museum that explores the state’s economic and cultural history.

Inside, you can explore the richly decorated interior and learn about the building’s role in shaping Melbourne’s identity and growth. There are also tours available that offer a deeper insight into the building’s fascinating past – you can even see the original vault, which was used to store the state’s gold reserves during the 1800s when Melbourne was flush with cash from the gold rush.


Address: 20 Spring Street
Opening hours: 10am to 4pm (closed Saturdays)
Cost: Free (donations welcome)

11. Museum of Chinese Australian History

The entrance to Chinatown in Melbourne, which is marked by a large green-coloured gate in the traditional style

Melbourne’s Chinese community has played a huge role in the development of this city and the state, and the Museum of Chinese Australian History is a must-visit to learn more about their history and contributions to Australian society.

The museum is a treasure trove of artifacts, documents and historical exhibits showcasing the incredible story of Chinese Australians and their journey to become an integral part of the fabric of Australia. From the early days of immigration to their role in the gold rush to the present day, there’s a lot to learn and appreciate here.

The museum is in Chinatown, so plan your visit before or after lunch so you can take advantage of the many delicious Chinese restaurants nearby.


Address: 22 Cohen Place
Opening hours: Daily, 10am – 4pm
Cost: Adults $12.50

12. Islamic Museum of Australia

Located in Thornbury in the north of Melbourne, the Islamic Museum of Australia showcases the rich and diverse history of Islamic culture in Australia. There’s a space that shares rotating exhibitions as well as regular workshops that cover food, crafts and education.

Through its engaging exhibitions, the Islamic Museum of Australia provides a unique opportunity to learn about Muslim culture and gain a deeper appreciation for diversity and inclusion in Melbourne and beyond.


Address: 15A Anderson Rd, Thornbury
Opening hours: Mondays – Saturdays, 10am to 4pm
Cost: Adults $12

13. Jewish Museum of Australia

Melbourne has a large Jewish population, and the Jewish Museum of Australia explores and celebrates Jewish history, culture and traditions in Australia.

There’s a series of interactive and immersive exhibits, and among the exhibits on display are a collection of paintings, photographs and artifacts, including objects from the Holocaust. The museum also hosts regular talks, workshops and events, making it a great spot for visitors who want to delve deeper into Jewish culture and history.


Address: 26 Alma Rd, St Kilda 
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday and Sunday, 10am to 5pm; closed Monday and Saturday
Cost: Free, with some paid exhibitions

14. Hellenic Museum

Inside the Hellenic Museum in Melbourne, a Greek museum that celebrates Greek culture. A person is blurred but can be seen looking at an exhibit.

Home to the largest Greek population in the world outside of Greece and Cyprus, it’s only right that we have a museum that celebrates the rich history and culture of the Greek community in Australia. Located in the former Royal Mint, the Hellenic Museum covers 8,000 years of Hellenic history, art and culture in the only dedicated home for Hellenic art in Australia.

The museum features an ever-changing array of exhibitions that delve into the customs, beliefs, and history of Greek people. From stunning ancient Greek ceramics to the contemporary works of modern Greek artists, there’s always something new to discover at the Hellenic Museum.


Address: 280 William Street
Opening hours: Daily 10am to 4pm
Cost: Adults $12

15. Victoria Police Museum

If you’re interested in crime and law enforcement, the Victoria Police Museum is a must-visit when in Melbourne. This hidden gem tells the story of policing in Victoria, from the early days of convict constables to modern-day policing tactics.

Inside, you’ll find an impressive collection of artefacts, including uniforms, weapons, vehicles, and other equipment used by Victoria Police over the years. It’s fascinating to see how policing has evolved, and the challenges faced by police officers in keeping our communities safe.


Address: 313 Spencer Street
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm (closed public holidays)
Cost: Free

16. Fire Services Museum

If you’ve ever thought about being a firefighter or just been impressed by their bravery, then take a look inside the Fire Services Museum of Victoria. This museum pays tribute to the brave men and women who have dedicated their lives to fighting fires and protecting our communities.

Housed in the original headquarters of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, inside you’ll find one of the largest collections of fire-fighting memorabilia in Australia – more than 10,000 pieces. From vintage fire trucks and uniforms to antique pumps and hoses, every exhibit offers a glimpse into the past and present. Throughout the year there are regular fire-fighting demonstrations.

All the staff here are volunteers and have worked or currently work in fire services, and can share their personal stories.


Address: 39 Gisborne Street
Opening hours: Thursdays and Fridays 9am to 3pm, Sundays 10am to 4pm
Cost: Adults $10

17. Australian Sports Museum

Melburnians take their sport very seriously. That’s why the Australian Sports Museum is a must-visit for anyone who loves sports or wants to learn more about Australia’s sporting history. The museum is located at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), which is a sports lover’s dream destination in itself (and you can take an MCG tour as well).

The Australian Sports Museum is full of fascinating exhibits that celebrate Australia’s sporting achievements, as well as some interactive experiences where you can test your sporting skills – like kicking a football or playing virtual reality cricket. You’ll learn about the history of Australian sports, from the Indigenous games that existed pre-European colonisation to modern-day sporting legends, as well as our national obsession with footy and cricket.

But what makes this museum stand out is the sheer variety of sports it covers. It’s not just about AFL, cricket, or rugby – there are exhibits dedicated to basketball, netball, cycling, tennis, motorsports and so much more. Whether you’re a sports expert or a curious beginner, there’s something for everyone at the Australian Sports Museum.


Address: Gate 3, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Yarra Park
Opening hours: Daily 10am to 5pm (varies depending on MCG events)
Cost: Adults from $33

18. Heide Museum of Modern Art

The Heide Museum is one of Melbourne's best galleries - the outside of the museum is black with large coloured sculptures in red, blue, orange and green

When it comes to Melbourne art museums, the Heide Museum of Modern Art is a real standout. Founded by John and Sunday Reed, who wanted to create a space where Australian artists could showcase their work, the Heide Museum is now home to an impressive collection of modern and contemporary Australian art.

One of the things that makes the Heide Museum stand out from other art museums in Melbourne is its gorgeous location. The museum is set on a beautiful property with stunning gardens and sculptures. Inside, you’ll find works by some of Australia’s most renowned artists, as well as up-and-coming artists who are pushing boundaries and exploring new forms of expression.

There’s also a market the second Saturday of every month (except during winter months) where you can browse and buy locally made and designed art, jewellery, accessories, homewares, clothing and tasty treats.


Address: 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 4pm; Weekends, 10am to 5pm
Cost: Adults $25

19. Lyon Housemuseum

Inside the Lyon Housemuseum, another famous Melbourne gallery, an exhibit shows several black and white circles

Not often on the tourist radar – or even well known by Melburnians – the Lyon Housemuseum is a must-visit for art connoisseurs.

This museum, housed in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, is a remarkable amalgamation of contemporary architecture, design, art, and culture. It’s a unique space that showcases the personal collection of Australian couple Corbett and Yueji Lyon. The museum features some of the most impressive works of contemporary Australian art and design and also allows visitors to see them within the context of a real, lived-in home.

There are also artist talks, drawing workshops and other events throughout the year.


Address: 217 Cotham Road, Kew
Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 12pm to 4pm
Cost: From $12 for adults

20. The Johnston Collection

Another hidden gem, The Johnston Collection was “a gift” to the people of Victoria from wealthy Melbourne businessman William Robert Johnston and is located in his former residence in East Melbourne. The collection consists of decorative arts from the Rococo, Georgian and Regency periods, and visitors can marvel at the exquisite furniture, paintings and ceramics that are on display.

What sets The Johnston Collection apart from other museums in Melbourne is its unique approach to curation. Rather than separating art pieces into distinct galleries, the collection is displayed in an actual living space. Visitors are guided through the rooms of the historic house, complete with antique furnishings and decorative objects.


Address: Pick up from the Pullman Hotel, 192 Wellington Parade
Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday, with three tours daily at 10am, 12 noon and 2pm
Cost: Adults $25

21. Australian Centre for Contemporary Art

The outside of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, which shows the rust-coloured edges of the building against a blue sky

The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) is a cultural landmark that has played an instrumental role in shaping the contemporary art scene in Melbourne. The ACCA has been exhibiting for more than three decades and has hosted some of the world’s most renowned contemporary artists.

Set in an eye-catching rust-red building in the Southbank Arts Precinct, there’s everything from immersive installations and cutting-edge multimedia projects to thought-provoking sculptures and paintings, all of which are sure to impress.

Whether you’re a seasoned art aficionado or a curious newcomer, the ACCA is sure to stimulate your senses and transport you to the forefront of the contemporary art world.


Address: 111 Sturt Street Southbank
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 5pm; Saturday to Sunday, 11am to 5pm
Cost: Free

22. Australian Music Vault

Kylie. John Farnham. INXS. AC/DC. Keith Urban. All Aussie music icons celebrated at the Australian Music Vault. Located in the heart of Melbourne’s Arts Precinct, this museum is a celebration of Australia’s rich music history and is an absolute must-visit for anyone interested in diverse genres of music.

Inside the exhibition space, you’ll find archives of iconic Australian musicians like Kylie Minogue, AC/DC, and Nick Cave, and unique memorabilia such as stage costumes, instruments and handwritten lyrics. There’s a whole lot of interactive exhibits that allow visitors to experience music in a whole new way. Try your hand at being a DJ, record a track or test your knowledge of the Australian music scene in a trivia challenge.


Address: Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Rd
Opening hours: Daily, 10am to 5pm
Cost: Free

23. Australian National Aviation Museum

Attention all aviation enthusiasts and history buffs! Tucked away in the suburb of Moorabbin, the Australian National Aviation Museum has a vast collection of aircraft and aviation memorabilia that will leave you in awe.

The museum’s rich history dates back to the early 1960s when a group of aviation enthusiasts banded together to save a rare World War II bomber. Today, it has grown to become a premier institution dedicated to preserving and showcasing Australia’s aviation history. The museum is home to an impressive collection of over 50 aircraft, including some of the most significant and rare planes in Australia’s aviation history. On display are a fully restored Lancaster bomber and an F-111 fighter-bomber.


Address: 12 First St, Moorabbin Airport
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm; Weekends, 10am to 5pm
Cost: Adults $10

24. Melbourne Tram Museum

Trams have been in Melbourne since 1885, and they’re an important part of our history as well as critical to getting people around the city every single day. The Melbourne Tram Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the city’s transportation history through the lens of its iconic trams.

Located in the historic Hawthorn Tram Depot, the museum features an impressive collection of trams spanning over a century, from the early 1900s to the modern day. Visitors can explore these beautifully restored trams up close and even step inside to get a feel for what it was like to ride them back in the day.

This museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in Melbourne’s history and public transportation, or simply looking for a unique and fascinating museum experience.


Address: 8 Wallen Rd, Hawthorn
Opening hours: Second and fourth Saturday of each month, 11am to 4pm; selected Wednesdays (see website), 10am to 3pm
Cost: Gold coin donation

25. Fox Classic Cars Museum

Melbourne is home to the Fox Classic Cars Museum, a must-visit destination for anyone who appreciates classic automobiles. The museum boasts an impressive collection of over 50 classic cars from around the world, with each car meticulously restored to preserve its original beauty. Cars have been donated by billionaire Lindsay Fox (who must have a whole lot of cars if he can donate this many!).

Visitors can get up close and personal with iconic cars such as the Rolls Royce, Jaguar and Ferrari, and learn about the stories and legends behind them. Some vehicles were previously owned by celebrities such as Ringo Starr and Bing Crosby.


Address: 749-755 Collins St, Docklands
Opening hours: Thursday and Saturday, 10am to 2pm
Cost: Adults $16.50

26. The Polly Woodside

An icon of Australia’s maritime heritage, the Polly Woodside was built in Belfast in 1885 and is one of the few remaining tall ships of its era. Moored in the South Wharf precinct, it’s now a museum that’s open to the public a few times a month.

Step aboard and you’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time. The ship has been lovingly restored and preserved, and you can explore the decks, cabins and cargo holds and learn all about the ship’s rich history and voyages.

And if you’ve ever dreamed of being a pirate, then head here on the third Sunday of each month for Pirate Day. This is a great kids activity in Melbourne, where people are encouraged to dress up as a pirate and join in on the treasure hunt, play on the rope swing and scrub the deck.


Address: 21 South Wharf Promenade
Opening hours: Open first and third Sunday of each month, 10am to 4pm
Cost: Adults $16 for open day (first Sunday), $25 for Pirates Day

27. Medical History Museum

When it comes to Melbourne museums, the Medical History Museum may not be the most well-known, but it’s certainly one of the most fascinating. This museum takes you on a journey through the history of medicine, from the 19th century all the way to the present day.

One of the most striking – and gory! – features of the museum is its collection of preserved specimens, including human organs and body parts. While this may sound macabre, it offers a unique insight into the medical practices of the past and how they compare to modern medicine.

Beyond the preserved specimens, visitors can also explore the museum’s displays which cover the evolution of medical technologies and treatments, as well as the history of Melbourne’s medical institutions.


Address: University of Melbourne, Brownless Biomedical Library, Kernot Road, Parkville
Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 10am to 5pm; Saturday, 1pm to 5pm
Cost: Free

28. Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology

Right by the Medical History Museum is the Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology, also part of the University of Melbourne. It’s another must-visit museum for anyone interested in the history of medicine and the human body.

Founded in 1952, the museum has grown to become one of the largest and most comprehensive medical history collections in the Southern Hemisphere, with over 20,000 specimens on display. Visitors can explore exhibitions that cover a range of topics, including the anatomy of the brain, the history of childbirth, and the pathology of cancer. It’s also home to several “death masks”, including Ned Kelly’s.

Note that the museum is only open to the public during the university’s annual open day.


Address: University of Melbourne, Medical Building, Corner of Grattan Street and Royal Parade

29. Mary Mackillop Heritage Centre

The Mary Mackillop Heritage Centre is a museum that celebrates the life and legacy of Australia’s first saint, Mary MacKillop. Located in East Melbourne in a former convent, the museum showcases the incredible work of the sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart, which Mary Mackillop founded.

Visitors can explore the museum’s displays which cover the history of the order and the extraordinary contributions made by Mackillop and her fellow nuns, such as establishing schools and orphanages. There are also exhibits on Mackillop’s personal life and her journey to becoming a saint.

The museum also houses a chapel, where visitors can reflect and pray. This is a lovely choice if you’re looking for a peaceful and uplifting museum experience.


Address: 362 Albert Street, East Melbourne
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 10am to 4.30pm
Cost: Entry by donation

30. Melbourne Holocaust Museum

Did you know that Australia has the largest proportion of Holocaust survivors outside of Israel?

The Melbourne Holocaust Museum exists to amplify the voices of those survivors and foster understanding between people – so we all rise above antisemitism, racism and prejudice.

Recently redeveloped, the museum features the voices of survivors in moving multimedia presentations. There’s an exhibition for children aged 10 to 14 that tells the stories of young Holocaust survivors who eventually ended up in Melbourne after being concealed during World War II.


Address: 13 Selwyn St, Elsternwick
Opening hours: Tuesday to Thursday, 2pm-7pm and Sunday, 10am-6pm
Cost: Adults from $10

31. Pentridge Prison

This image shows an indoor corridor in the notorious H Division in Pentridge Prison in Melbourne, Australia, featuring architectural metalwork. The floor appears to be polished, reflecting some of the overhead lighting. The corridor is lined with a series of doors on both sides. The ceiling has exposed metal beams, and there is a walkway with a railing visible on an upper level. Decorative metal spirals adorn the staircase, visible on the right, leading to the upper floor.

Once a formidable prison and now a site run by the National Trust of Victoria, Pentridge Prison is one of Melbourne’s most interesting museums.

Pentridge inmates have included infamous bushranger Ned Kelly, armed robber Mark “Chopper” Read, Ronald Ryan (the last person to be executed in Australia) and Shantaram author Gregory David Roberts, who successfully escaped the prison in 1980.

While the prison site has been redeveloped and is now home to a shopping centre, cinema, brewery, wine bar and apartments, much of the prison architecture has been preserved.

You can visit the prison’s B and H Divisions and learn about the prison’s brutal history from 1851 to its closure in 1997. Fascinating multimedia exhibits share the stories of both former prisoners and prison guards.

I recently took the H Division Night Tour to see the prison in a completely different light. Led by guide Michelle, we learned about the prison from its opening until closing, and the brutality of H Division – more commonly referred to as Hell Division. Michelle was even here in the 80s when a prisoner escaped!


Address: 1 Champ St, Coburg
Opening hours: Guided tours Thursday to Monday, night tours Thursday to Saturday
Cost: Adults from $35

Map of Melbourne best museums

Best museums in Melbourne: Final thoughts

Whether you’re a resident of Melbourne or just visiting, there’s no shortage of museums to explore in this culture-filled city. From art to music, transportation to medical history, there’s something for everyone.

Some of these museums are well-known, while others are hidden gems waiting to be discovered. So, get out there and start museum-hopping – you never know what amazing discoveries you might make!

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I’m Rebecca, a Melbourne local excited to show you the best of Melbourne. I've visited more than 40 countries and have a Master of International Sustainable Tourism Management. After living abroad for 8 years, I’m back home in Melbourne, rediscovering this city that I love and have missed. My aim is to help you find the best things to do in Melbourne.

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