There are thousands of museums all over Australia, ranging from the grand and famous to the small and quirky. Whatever your interests, you're virtually guaranteed to find a museum that will capture your attention and imagination - you could easily spend an entire tour of the country solely visiting museums, and there'd still be plenty left unseen by the time you'd finished!
The National Museum of Australia is a good place to start, as one of the country's major museums. Established in Canberra in 1980, the building itself was the first of its kind. Its post-modern architecture comprises several individual buildings that are pieced together in the style of a jigsaw puzzle; a break away from the traditional museum design, the structure is a reflection of the diversity of the collection within.
Perhaps most remarkable is the giant loop situated at the entrance, which is actually the most visible part of the Urulu line. Inside, the museum is an excellent and all-encompassing exploration of the history of Australia and its people, and has quickly gained an international reputation as an innovative and important museum. With five permanent galleries and vast collections profiling 50,000 years of heritage, it is well worth a visit for anyone who wishes to gain some insight into Australian history and culture.
The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney's Darling Harbour is another venue that is extremely popular with locals and tourists alike. Its collection totals almost 400,000 objects, contained in dozens of exhibitions (including 22 permanent ones). The Powerhouse Museum is renowned for its educational values, and its focus on modern technology and interactive features like touch screen computers makes it a great place to take the kids, who'll love the exhibits and displays on space exploration and science themes. The museum is part of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, which also incorporates the Powerhouse Discovery Centre and Sydney Observatory.
The main museum for the state of Western Australia is the Western Australia Museum in Northbridge, Perth, where visitors with an interest in Australian wildlife will enjoy the environmental focus (including a detailed look at Australian mammals, marine life, and aborigines, to name a few). In the southeast, there are literally hundreds of museums in Victoria, ranging from historic homes to science centres. The Melbourne Museum and the Melbourne Planetarium are both excellent, and worth a visit - or for something different, check out Old Melbourne Gaol, where you can see the former 'home' of some of Australia's most notorious historical characters and even have your own personal "arrest and trial" experience if you wish!
Wherever you go in Australia, you'll find plenty of museums to choose from, on a wide variety of themes. It's one of the best ways to experience and learn about the rich and vibrant culture and history of this fascinating country.