THINGS DO TO: 11 South East Queensland museums and art galleries you must visit

07 July 2017
Reading time9 mins

South East Queensland is a treasure trove of museums and art galleries, with literally thousands of exhibits for families to enjoy and learn about the rich history, science and culture of the region we live in.

We’ve picked some of our favourite museums and art galleries in Brisbane, Ipswich, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast that we really think you should add to your to-do list.  

Ipswich Art Gallery

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easter guide localguideDid you know the Ipswich Art Gallery was the first in Australia to have a permanently dedicated Gallery space for children?

The Gallery’s exhibitions and activities for children are founded on the principle that children’s learning starts with creative play. That’s why they design all of their children’s exhibitions and activities specifically for them with that in mind.

When you visit the Ipswich Art Gallery you might get involved in a hands-on children’s activity and create a piece of art, see a puppet performance, explore a contemporary art exhibition or learn more about Ipswich’s history through the heritage displays.

With a regularly changing program and a safe, stimulating and enjoyable learning environment, families often visit a number of times a year to experience everything on offer. Check out their website for details of what’s on.

Ipswich Art Gallery, d’Arcy Doyle Place, Ipswich

Queensland Museum

If you’re after a place that tells the story of our changing nation and state, the Queensland Museum is a perfect mix of permanent and changing exhibits covering natural history, cultural heritage, science and human achievement.

The Queensland Museum holds regular activities for children including school holiday activities. Or browse through a huge collection of different objects, specimens and artefacts.

The Queensland Museum is the perfect starting point to a cultural day out. It’s within walking distance to the Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art and Southbank where you can enjoy a coffee and play in the park.

The Queensland Museum, corner of Grey and Melbourne Streets, South Bank, South Brisbane

The Workshops Railway Museum, Ipswich

The Workshops Railway Museum in Ipswich has won a number of well-deserved awards and should always be on your to-do list if you’re visiting Ipswich.

The museum beautifully preserves the workshop where over 3,000 railway workers toiled at its busiest time after World War II.

The old boiler shop is where you’ll find the museum, a treasure trove for kids, particularly Thomas the Tank Engine fans. The museum houses wonderfully restored locomotives, carriages and diesel engines. Children can have a turn at driving a diesel engine in the real-life simulator, enjoy watching the trains go round and round on Queensland’s largest model railway and pretend to be a busy rail worker at the Nippers’ Railway play area.

The Workshops Railway Museum also runs great programs through school holidays.

Ipswich Railway Museum, North Street, North Ipswich

Queensland Air Museum, Caloundra

Letting your kids get up close and personal with real-life fighter planes is the perfect way to deliver the value of history into their lives. The Caloundra Air Museum is the perfect place to do it.

Here you can see the cockpit of a fighter plane up close as well as marvel at more than 50 fully restored aeroplanes – military and commercial.

Keep an eye out for the Queensland Air Museum’s annual Aero Engine Run Day where you’ll be able to see and hear the sheer power of the aircrafts engines.

Caloundra Air Museum, Caloundra Airport, Pathfinder Drive, Caloundra

Gold Coast Hinterland Heritage Museum

The Gold Coast Hinterland Heritage Museum is the perfect place to appreciate our pioneer history through perfectly preserved artefacts, furniture, buildings, structures and memorabilia.

A perfect place for kids to learn about what it was like to live and work back in the pioneer days, the museum recreates life as it was. There are displays such as an old saddlery, school room, pioneer’s tent, butcher shop, grocer’s shop and more.

Gold Coast Hinterland Heritage Museum, 238 Mudgeeraba Road, Mudgeeraba

Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology

Put on your historian hat at this truly unique Queensland museum. Here you will be transported back in time – through the Industrial Revolution and the history of the British Empire. Then experience the ancient and classical worlds of Egypt, Greece, China and more.

The Abbey Museum is a world full of treasures to admire including incredible artefacts from the Medieval, Saxon and Norman invaders, a medieval glass collection, and the beautiful 13th Century stained glass at Abbey Church nearby.

The Abbey Museum, The Abbey Place, Caboolture

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Queensland Maritime Museum

Situated on the banks of the Brisbane River, the Queensland Maritime Museum is one of the museums in Brisbane you must visit.

The museum is home to the HMAS Diamantina, a large World War II frigate you can actually board and see close up along with its rotating angle guns on deck. The museum is also home to the light ship Carpentaria, Jessica Watson’s ‘Ella’s Pink Lady’, wooden sailing and motor boats, lighthouses, marine engines, nautical equipment and more. The Queensland Maritime Museum is also home to  the heritage listed South Brisbane Dry Dock, one of the last remaining remnants of the colony of Queensland, built in 1876.

Queensland Maritime Museum, 412 Stanley Street, South Brisbane

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Caboolture Historical Village

If you are keen to experience a little history, the Caboolture Historical Village is the perfect place to go.

With over 70 buildings and more than 110,000 artefacts, this Queensland museum will really take you back in time to what it was like as you walk down an old street and into an old post office, butcher, barber, general store, hospital, cottages and the old Caboolture Railway station.

The museum is also home to the Feather Club Museum, the only museum of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere which is dedicated to the animals and birds lost in wars.

The Caboolture Historical Village, 280 Beerburrum Road, Caboolture

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Brisbane Tramway Museum

Just imagine a Brisbane with trams. Well, it was that way for some time with the Brisbane Tramway Network running from 1897 to 1969, when the network was replaced with a bus network.

It’s at the Brisbane Tramway Museum you can take a step back in time to what Brisbane was like with trams as a main mode of transport, grandparents will likely remember it well.
The tramway museum is the perfect place for families to experience what it was really like to catch a tram in Brisbane. You can have a ride on one of the restored trams, take a look at other restored tram trucks and what they used to look like and learn about how trams helped transform Brisbane into the thriving city it is today.

Brisbane Tramway Museum, Tramway Street, Ferny Grove

Image credit: Leonard J Matthews on Flickr

The Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Who said art galleries are just for adults? The Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) is well known for their interactive activities for kids and the perfect place to visit when you’re stuck for something to do.

The Gallery of Modern Art has a physical space called the Children’s Art Centre. It’s here various events, workshops, exhibitions and programs are run for children and include installations by local and international artists.

From hands-on art activities, engaging exhibitions, toddler art programs, eye catching designs for children to engage with, it’s certainly a fun way to instil a little art and culture into kids.

QAGOMA, Stanley Place, Cultural Precinct, Southbank, Brisbane

Logan City Historical Museum

Yes, there is a historical museum in Logan! It’s a fabulous place to learn about local history, particularly the history of the butter factory.

In addition to hosting a range of historical and personal memorabilia, the Logan City Historical Museum has stacks of history to share on the old Kingston Butter Factory, the current site of the museum. Construction of the butter factory was completed in 1907 with the factory churning up to 40–50 tons of butter each week by 1932, the milk provided by local farmers. In 1958, the butter factory was taken over by Peters and expanded its range of dairy products. Production stopped in 1983, the factory was acquired by the council in 1988 and was afterwards turned into the museum.

The Logan City Historical Museum is a great way to delve into the past of the Logan dairy cooperative. It is here you can see old machinery and clerical equipment, historical records, photographs and items donated by locals, perfect if you live in the area and want to teach your kids about its past.

Logan City Historical Museum/Kingston Butter Factory, Milky Way, Kingston

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So, which popular Queensland museum or art gallery are you going to visit first?




Written by

Eva Lewis

Eva is a digital content expert who runs a successful women's lifestyle blog - The Multitasking Woman. Eva is an experienced social media manager, digital consultant, article writer and copywriter and has written for various publications and business websites over the years.  When Eva doesn't have her head in the digital space, she enjoys spending time with her husband, six year old son and one year old daughter, ploughing through her current favourite books in the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon, gardening and chatting with her chooks. 

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