Skip to content
  • Open 9am–5pm
  • Free general admission

Come and see our largest artefact

The National Museum is offering tours of the Museum building, explaining the history of the site and its architectural design. It joins our suite of informative and entertaining daily one-hour guided tours.

Exterior of a building, illuminated at night. A large, white cross on an orange background rises above a red curved wall.
Museum entrance

I like to think of the building as the largest object in our collection. Think of it as a big, colourful box, covered in stories.

The Gandel Atrium represents all the threads of stories from history, tied together in a knot. Each story thread is important but it’s here they all come together and make up the messy and complicated knot that is Australian history.

This is knot an ordinary building. Get it? It's full of fascinating stories from Australian history and we can give you the full story from inside.

View of a large sculptural architectural feature rising above landscaped grounds of native plants. In the foreground there are large stones with etchings of Australian wildlife. - click to view larger image
The Loop and Forecourt Garden

What's the big loop?

We get a lot of questions along the lines of ‘What is the big loop-de-loop thing out the front? Is it a skate ramp or a rollercoaster?'

Well, sort of, but no. It is what we call the Uluru Line. It stretches from the loop high above the entrance of the Museum, alongside the AIATSIS building to the wave-like structure you see at the far end of the car park.

If you followed that red line, you’d end up crossing the desert to Uluru. It’s the thread that connects the symbolic heart of Australia, Uluru, with the modern capital of Australia, Canberra.

It acknowledges the longest story in Australian history, representing at least 65,000 years of Aboriginal cultures in Australia. So okay, you got it, it’s a long rollercoaster ride through history.

What's the shiny stuff out the front?

That's the Welcome Wall where you can see yourself reflected in history. Wander through the mosaic garden and enjoy plants from across Australia in our new Forecourt Garden.

Who can tell me more?

We can! Come in any day at 10am for our one-hour building and architecture guided tour led by our enthusiastic, friendly and knowledgeable Museum hosts.

We also run a daily Museum highlights tour at 1pm. At 3pm we have a tour focusing on the histories of First Australians. Cost apply

Return to Top