TMAG, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, showcases Hobart’s history and its evolution over time. It is the second oldest museum in Australia and offers a more traditional counterpoint to the cutting edge MONA.
Peek into Tasmania’s aboriginal and convict heritage, history, geology and art, all at one place. Through its exhibitions, TMAG celebrates and preserves the unique history of the Tasmania and its people.
TMAG recently underwent a spectacular $30 million redevelopment in 2013 giving it an attractive and modern uplift. The buildings themselves are some of the oldest in Australia still being used, and hence very fascinating even by themselves.
You’ll probably enjoy spending one or two hours here, or even more.
Permanent exhibitions at TMAG
Level 1 opens onto the spectacular lantern roof of the Central Gallery showcasing artefacts from Tasmania and around the world. Explore the journey of Tasmanian Aboriginal people via ningina tunapri, gain a better perspective on the history of The Thylacine: Skinned, Stuffed, Pickled and Persecuted to be reminded how easily a species like the Tasmanian Tiger can be lost. The Power of Change exhibition explores the social and political changes in 20th century Tasmanian life that influenced national and international conversations.
On level 2, the Bond Store Galleries house the permanent exhibition, Our land: parrawa, parrawa! Go away!, a powerful and immersive journey telling the story of the Aboriginal people and the colonists following the invasion of lutruwita (Tasmania), focusing on the Black War.
Another notable exhibition is the Islands to Ice exhibition detailing detail Antarctica’s places, people, wildlife and other natural phenomena.
Historical buildings in TMAG precinct
The TMAG precinct has some of Tasmania’s oldest surviving public buildings – Commissariat Store (1808-10); the Private Secretary’s Cottage (1815); and Tasmania’s first federal building Custom House (1902).
The Commissariat Store was the focal point for receiving and distributing goods. Its location near the waterfront provided easy access, and the it played a vital role in the colony’s early economy. Guided tours are from Wednesdays to Sundays at 2pm. Please confirm upfront with TMAG front desk on 6165 7000.
The Private Secretary’s Cottage is generally open on Wednesdays for tours starting at 11:00 am. Admission is by guided tours only owing to the fragility of the Cottage’s interiors. Please confirm upfront with TMAG front desk on 6165 7000.
Tasmania’s Parliament House is a grand Georgian style building originally designed as a customs house in 1841. Free guided tours are conducted at 10:00am and 2:00pm on most non-sitting days and take approximately 90 minutes. It is suggested that you call ahead on 6212 2200 to check tour availability.
Visiting the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery with kids
There are various interactive things for children to do at TMAG. Lots of children’s activities are also held frequently, especially during school holidays.
Young Collectors at TMAG
See collections ranging from dragons, sheep tags, bones and dominoes to even simply ‘green things’, any collections that people collect over the years can make it to this display.
TMAG hosts a Family Day on the last Sunday of every month (except December). It is best for 3-8 year-old children to foster a joyful and creative investigation of the collection and other relevant themes.
Backpacks, Toolkits and Art Boxes
Borrow a free Discovery Backpack, Museum Toolkit or Art Box from the Visitor Information Desk to give kids something fun to do. Backpacks map out quests throughout TMAG, Toolkits provide hands-on tools for exploring, while the Art Box stimulates creative interactions in the art galleries.
Guided Tours at TMAG
Free guided tours are provided from Wednesdays to Sundays, lasting about 40 minutes each. Timings are subject to change and availability, so please call 6165 7000 to confirm.
Free exhibition talks and tours are held at 11:00 am. A highlight tour of the Welcome Garden, historic Commissariat Complex and the Bond Store exhibitions is held at 1pm and that of the Central and Henry Hunter galleries is held at 2pm.
AntipoDean Entertainment also runs a special Settlement Secrets Tour from Tuesday – Friday at 11:30 am and 2:00 pm. The tour takes you on a theatrical journey through TMAG’s buildings. tickets cost $20 adults, $15 children, $60 families (2 adults, 4 children) and under 4s are free. Tickets can be purchased at this website. It’s well-known for being amusingly entertaining and informative, you’ll leave with greater appreciation of the Sullivans Cove precinct and will be able to see parts of the museum that wouldn’t normally be able to get to.
Facilities at TMAG
TMAG has luggage lockers, free wifi, a quiet courtyard cafe and an award-winning Museum Shop offering a range of gifts, home wares, books, toys, jewellery and artisan objects which showcase the museum’s collections and heritage.
TMAG Location, Entry and Parking
TMAG is located at Dunn Place in Hobart, next to the waterfront. From 26 December to 31 March, it opens daily from 10 am to 4 pm. From from 1 April to 24 December, it opens Tuesdays to Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm. It is also open on Monday public holidays, from 10 am – 4 pm.
The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery is closed on Good Friday, Anzac Day (25 April) and Christmas Day.
General admission to TMAG is free to all members. Special exhibits may occasionally require paid entry.
There is plenty of paid parking available nearby. Metered parking is available at the car park located directly in front of TMAG’s main entrance (vehicle entry from Davey Street). Alternative nearby parking is available at the waterfront or at the Market Place Car park at 6 Market Place.
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