Our vast state has a wide-ranging history, and you can explore it all at Perth’s best museums – from our rich and varied First Nations cultures, all the way to modern motoring, treasures from our historic theatres, or even Australia’s largest planetarium!
WA Museum Boola Bardip
We’ve made no secret of the fact we’re pretty big fans of our snazzy new museum – it even made the cut for our Perth Bucket List. And yet, it bears repeating! The museum’s redevelopment has become the jewel of the Cultural Centre, with world-class collections in a stunning building that merges old and new. Beyond the building’s impressive aesthetic, the permanent exhibition Ngalang Koort Boodja Wirn shares the stories, history and culture of First Nations peoples of Western Australia. It’s an absolute, non-negotiable necessity for anyone in Perth.
Perth Cultural Centre, Perth
WA Maritime Museum
Alongside WA’s spectacular beaches, our coastal location has also resulted in a pretty colourful maritime history. The WA Maritime Museum explores our seafaring tales, from an impressive display of 1983 America’s Cup winning yacht Australia II, as well as Parry Endeavour, which took solo yachtsman Jon Sanders around the globe three times – to artefacts from early maritime travellers and traders, and a celebration of WA’s migrant community who arrived by sea. Mimicking the upturned hull of a boat, the distinctive building is also one of the tallest timber structures in the southern hemisphere! Located on the slipway next to the Museum, you can also tour HMAS Ovens, an authentic Cold War-era submarine.
Victoria Quay Road, Fremantle
WA Shipwrecks Museum
As if you’d had enough maritime history! Also part of the WAM family of museums, WA Shipwrecks Museum occupies the historic Commissariat buildings – one of the first places built in WA using convict labour. First opened to the public in 1979, the Museum is the delegated authority overlooking all Commonwealth shipwrecks and relics in the state – perhaps most impressively, the Batavia, the reconstructed remains of which are the centrepiece of the Museum’s displays.
Cliff Street, Fremantle
Open since 1988, Scitech has been bringing fun, interactive science to kids of all ages for over three decades. Boasting Australia’s largest planetarium, plus technology hubs for young minds to make their ideas come to life and plenty of fun science-based shows, the centre will ignite a curiosity for STEM for little and big kids alike.
City West Centre, Corner Railway Street and Sutherland Street, West Perth
The Nostalgia Box
For any gaming nerds, a trip to the Nostalgia Box is a must-do. The pint-sized museum is in the heart of Northbridge: Australia’s only video game console museum, the exhibition will take you through the history of gaming – with over 100 consoles on display, all the way from nearly 50-year-old Pong and Atari 2600 up to Xbox 360. You’ll also get a chance to try your hand at old favourites in their interactive gaming area.
1/16 Aberdeen Street, Perth
Museum of Perth
Often confused with the Big Boy Boola Bardip, Museum of Perth is the city’s itty-bitty Museum devoted to chronicling the social, political, cultural and architectural history of Perth. Privately run by a not-for-profit organisation, the gallery hosts historical exhibitions, cultural events and even a micro-cinema from the historic surrounds of the Atlas Building. The Museum also has a connection to London Court, operating Perth’s smallest bookshop from one of the shopfronts, and are currently undertaking the restoration of one of the flats above the Court stores – you can even volunteer to help! Find out more information HERE.
The Atlas Building, 8-10 The Esplanade, Perth
Museum of Natural History
From one, quirky, privately-run museum to the quirkiest museum of all: Guildford’s Museum of Natural History is unmissable! Part of the Academy of Taxidermy and housed in a heritage-listed former theatre, the Museum of Natural History is home to hundreds of preserved specimens of native Australian wildlife, as well as life-size replicas of dinosaurs and other creatures.
Photo by Anne Zahalka
131 James Street, Guildford
Motor Museum of WA
Gearheads will need no introduction to the Motor Museum of WA. The massive collection of over 200 vehicles spans just about every era and style – from horse-drawn buggies to the car used by Daniel Ricciardo to win his first ever F1 Grand Prix in 2014. Along with the Revolutions Transport Museum and Tractor Museum, the Motor Museum is found within Whiteman Park – so there’s plenty on offer to keep the whole family entertained.
Whiteman Park, 233A Drumpellier Drive, Whiteman
Museum of Performing Arts
For any budding performers, you can explore Perth’s vibrant theatre history at the Museum of Performing Arts, curated by Theatre Historian Ivan King OAM. Nestled underneath His Majesty’s Theatre, the museum is a treasure trove of memorabilia, costumes and more, dating back to 1904.
His Majesty’s Theatre, 825 Hay Street, Perth
Header image: WA Maritime Museum