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Canberra Museum and Gallery (CMAG)

Home > Canberra > Exhibitions | Free | Museums | Rainy Day
by Sue W (subscribe)
New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published June 10th 2015
This is not the usual Canberra Museum
Canberra Museum and Gallery is located next door to the Canberra Theatre, in the heart of Canberra's CBD. I knew it wasn't going to be the usual Museum experience when I walked in the door to see this sign for an over 18's Exhibition upstairs...

Exhibitions at Canberra Museum and Gallery
I bet this got your attention! X-rated exhibition, located upstairs until the 20th of September, 2015


Canberra Museum and Gallery
The main entrance.


Although too embarrassed to walk up the stairs (though don't let me put you off!), the downstairs galleries provided a lot of interesting artworks to look at and information to read. In the main foyer there was a small but busy coffee shop, a children's play area, a small free library, touch screens on exhibitions and an artists studio through the courtyard. Although not a large Museum in comparison to Canberra's other attractions, it is an interesting place to spend some time, only a short walk from the Civic.

The "Canberra Museum and Gallery" has an ambience of culture with a funky edge, making a refreshing change to other Museums.



childrens play area, Canberra Museum and Gallery
Childrens craft area - where kids can build a house of paper, which ties in with the current Urban Suburban exhibition.


There is a permanent exhibition titled "Canberra Stories" which tells the story of Canberra's past to today. With stories ranging from the first European explorers, convict settlement, local people who went to war, the 2003 bushfires, to what issues are facing Canberran's today. It is an interesting walk through our past, where you walk out feeling you know a bit more about Canberra's foundations.

I was also fascinated by the Sidney Nolan permanent exhibition "The Foundation Collection". After studying Nolan in High School, it was interesting to see his work in reality.
In 1974 Sidney Nolan himself donated 24 artworks to the people of Australia which were displayed at Lanyon until 2007, before moving to the Canberra Museum and Gallery.
The CMAG website states that "The Nolan Collection is managed by the ACT Government, on behalf of the Commonwealth Government which remains the owner of the works".

Sidney Nolan continued to donate or loan works to compliment the collection until his death in 1992.

Sidney Nolan, Canberra Museum and Gallery
The Foundation Collection.


There are several temporary exhibitions in the other Galleries which vary in size - my visit coincided with an exhibition titled "Urban Suburban" (March 7th - June 21st) which focuses on photos and artworks from life in Canberra and surrounds from the 1960's to today.

Canberra Museum and Gallery exhibitions
Urban Suburban exhibition.


This Museum and Gallery is a pleasant surprise; a quiet escape, from the busy London Circuit traffic outside. With such proximity to the Civic, it is worth the walk to this Museum and Gallery to learn about our city and also experience something new in the exhibitions.

Judging from the current upstairs X-Rated Exhibition, this museum with a cheeky side isn't afraid to be just a little bit different to Canberra's many other museums.
It is definitely worth a look...if you dare!


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Why? A funky Museum in the heart of the city.
When: Open Mon - Friday 10am - 5pm. Weekends 12noon - 5pm (Summer) and 4pm (Winter). Check their website.Closed public holidays.
Phone: (02) 6207 3968
Where: Cnr. London Circuit and Civic Square, Canberra City
Cost: Free.
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