Moving to Australia

Museums in Brisbane

If you’ve ever thought that galleries and museums are dusty places where you can “look but not touch”, then you’d be wrong. Galleries in Brisbane are interactive places that encourage hands-on experiences in order to learn and understand. Museums in Brisbane are also fun and lively, with plenty to see and do, for visitors of all ages.

Are you looking to live, study or holiday in Brisbane? Perhaps the city’s museums and galleries can persuade you to choose the river city over another place you have in mind.

The Grandmama of them all – GOMA Brisbane (QAGOMA)

A comparatively recent addition to the arts scene in the Sunshine State’s capital, GOMA Brisbane was opened in December 2006. It’s an addition to the main Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) which was established in 1895. GOMA has a floor area of more than 25,000 square metres and regularly hosts extremely impressive exhibitions including those from around the world.

One of the best things about QAGOMA is its location on the riverfront, directly opposite the CBD. Its central location and imposing façade make it a landmark all tourists quickly learn to recognise. The complex includes conference and convention facilities, cafes, a 1,100-square metre exhibition gallery, the Children’s Art Centre and the Australian Cinémathèque. And it’s all FREE! (Some of the visiting exhibitions may involve an entry fee.)

  • Dine at GOMA – GOMA Restaurant features a vibrant, contemporary menu with a focus on local ingredients. The setting is a warm, rich environment where artwork is on display for all to enjoy. GOMA Café Bistro is designed for more casual dining, serving lunch 7 days a week and brunch on weekends. QAG Café is an indoor/outdoor space with a light menu and excellent coffee.
  • Cinémathèque – Catch a film or video on Wednesday and Friday nights or a weekend matinee. From silent films with live musical accompaniment to rare 35mm films and international cinematography, the choices are unusual and compelling.
  • Children’s Art Centre – There’s Toddler Tuesday which includes storytelling, craft and games and even Art Starters which is a free program for parents to bring along their 4-12-month-old babies. Play games, create and get to know art.
  • Interactive activities – At QAGOMA, there’s usually something fun to get involved with. Get hands-on making your own works of art, explore Aboriginal artworks,
  • Artworks – There’s something for everyone at QAGOMA, even if some of the artworks seem a bit unusual to some eyes. A dog made of black rubbish bags? Sculptures made from fishing nets? A giant, upside down elephant on the lawn? See it all to believe it.
  • GOMA exhibitions – Modern art, like all art, is subjective. You won’t know what you’ll like until you’re face to face with it. View the exhibitions list to see what’s on.
  • QAG exhibitions – At the same link, you’ll find an outline of what’s showing in the Queensland Art Gallery. There are both permanent and visiting exhibitions, all of the very highest standard.
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Queensland Museum & Sciencentre

Also part of the Southbank cultural precinct is the Queensland Museum and Sciencentre. The museum is the state’s official facility where valuable exhibits are stored and displayed, and scientists work to continue learning and sharing. It offers fantastic, ever-changing public programs that invite visitors in to interact and have fun.

Behind the scenes tours, Museum After Dark, school holiday programs and fascinating displays all capture the imagination. Get up close to dinosaurs, bones, fossils and taxidermy models in the Lost Creatures area and marvel at the bi-plane of pioneering aviator, Bert Hinkler. Depending on the visiting exhibition, you could see Egyptian mummies or prehistoric relics.

At Sciencentre, discover your inner scientist in an intriguing world featuring 40 interactive exhibits over three zones in SparkLab. Explore how STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) influences our day-to-day world and find answers to some baffling questions. Sciencentre is tons of fun for all ages. You can build, design and create things, ask questions, observe science in motion and touch and play with the exhibits.

Museum of Brisbane

Perhaps the little brother of the Queensland Museum, the award-winning Museum of Brisbane is a small installation inside City Hall. The MoB showcases a constantly changing array of exhibitions focusing on the visual arts, the city’s history and crafts and design.

  • ‘Perspectives of Brisbane’ – This permanent exhibit provides insights into the city’s history through photographs, facts and figures, film and stories. It begins at settlement and tracks the city’s growth and development to the present day.
  • Temporary exhibits – Visit the Exhibitions page frequently to see what’s on.
  • Tours, talks and workshops – Be a part of MoB and join in on fascinating events that teach, amuse and inform.

Queensland Police Museum

Go along to the Queensland Police Museum in Roma Street to find out about Queensland’s famous cold case murders and try your hand at solving a crime in the simulated murder scene.

Guest speakers offer lectures on the last Sunday of the month and past topics have included dog squad involvement in crime fighting, and crime history. The museum provides insight into the equipment and transport used by police personnel, police medals, investigative techniques, forensic science and Queensland crimes.

Commissariat Store Museum

Queensland’s history is laid bare at the Commissariat Store Museum, where the building itself is part of the attraction. Built by convicts in 1828, the structure is now the state’s oldest habitable heritage building. Inside, you’ll find a range of rotating exhibits covering Queensland’s early colonial days.

Relics from the notorious St Helena Island convict settlement are on display, including the preserved fingers of a prisoner which were chopped off as punishment by the warden! You may even meet a ghost in the gardens.

Red Hill Gallery

Since 1986, this suburban gallery has been a hub for art lovers to congregate and admire sculptures, paintings, works on paper and handmade items. It showcases new and emerging artists as well as well-known ones, all in a sweet little Queenslander-style house at Red Hill. The building itself is over a century old.

Philip Bacon Galleries

Considered one of the country’s leading art galleries, it was opened in 1974 and today, represents the cream of Australia’s artists. The exhibition calendar is the best place to start when considering visiting. Located in Fortitude Valley, the gallery welcomes art aficionados and art dabblers to explore and appreciate some of the country’s finest art works.

Read more about Australian Museums & Galleries


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