The best museums in Brisbane City - Visit Brisbane

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Must-see museums in Brisbane CBD

Lose yourself in Brisbane’s history with a number of historical venues showcasing the wonders of ye old days. Architectural grandeurs, great wars and Australian politics make up the foundations of Brisbane’s history in this expedition through The City museums.

MacArthur Museum, Edward St

MacArthur Museum

Discover the role that Brisbane played in the Second World War at the MacArthur Museum Brisbane. Visit the office of General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander of Allied Forces during World War II, and sit at the desk where strategies were developed to win the war. You can also experience life in Brisbane during the dark days of the war, getting to see actual newsreel footage from the time when people feared that the city might be invaded, public air raid shelters lined the streets and children wore identity discs.

Museum of Brisbane, Brisbane City Hall

Museum of Brisbane inside City Hall

The Museum of Brisbane is all about having conversations about the evolving life of Brisbane, including both the historic and contemporary cultures. Examine how Brisbane and its people continue to change over time and reveal how each of our individual and collective stories are the milestones of The City’s evolution. A changing program of exhibitions provokes thought and discussion about the city and its communities. The exhibitions are always brilliant and bridge the border between history, art and culture. You can also book a free tour up the City Hall clock tower or book a free guided tour through the City Hall generally.

Customs House, Queen St

Customs House

While technically not a museum, you are able to stroll through the building and capture its historic flavour, while a display of Customs Service memorabilia from those bygone years stirs the imagination. Enjoy a meal at the building’s restaurant known for exquisite river views and fine dining, while you absorb the style and grandeur of the building.

Old Government House, QUT

Old Government House

Queensland’s first public and heritage listed building, Old Government House, is swimming in history and has its doors open for the public to enjoy. Alongside its 1860s architecture, the building boasts a historic house museum and you’ll also have access to the William Robertson Gallery and the QUT Art Museum.

Parliament House, Cnr of George and Alice St

Parliament House

It may not be a white house but you can enjoy the beautifully restored interior of Parliament House that showcases Queensland's history, as shaped by the governments and laws that have been made in the Parliament. Check the website for details on public tours and events at Parliament. 

The Commissariat Store Museum, William St

Built by convicts between 1828 and 1829, the Commissariat Store is Queensland’s most significant and oldest habitable building. Step inside the museum to discover Queensland’s history. The building truly is an exhibit in its own right but there are also rotating exhibitions through to more permanent rooms that explore the colonial period of our history, keep an eye out for the famous ‘convict finger’... All guests are offered a complimentary guided tour as part of your entry.

Museum of Lands, Mapping and Surveying, Edward St

This sub-branch of the Queensland Museum will have you walking in the footsteps of Queensland’s surveyors and cartographers of the past. This includes the establishment of Queensland’s borders, and the creation of maps, survey plans and registers. It houses one of the most comprehensive collections of its type in the world.

Anzac Square and Memorial Galleries, Ann St

True stories of courage, resilience, sacrifice and duty. Tucked beneath the historic Anzac Square you’ll find the Anzac Square Memorial Galleries, curated by the State Library of Queensland. Here you’ll be able to deep dive into Queensland’s war history, taking you on a journey from World War I to today.

Supreme Court Library, George St

The Supreme Court Library was established in 1862 and to this day serves to support the judiciary and the legal profession in the administration of justice in Queensland. The library commits to preserving the legal history of Queensland and does so with the Sir Harry Gibbs Legal Heritage Centre. It is a repository for Queensland’s legal artefacts and hosts exhibitions, lectures and publishing works and maintains the oral history record of judges and legal professions.

Brisbane Greeters Program

Brisbane Greeters - Visit Brisbane

Not your traditional museum, but still just as packed with Brisbane history is the Brisbane Greeters tours. It’s amazing how many little facts and secrets the Greeters know. Book a free walking tour with a Brisbane Greeter and have them show you The City in a whole new light. You can book a general greet, or request a special topic, such as street art, architecture or war history, to suit your interests.

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