Our Museums

The Western Australian Museum was first established in 1891 in the old Perth gaol. It was known as the Geological Museum and its collections were geological, ethnological and biological. In 1897 it officially became the Western Australian Museum and Art Gallery.

During 1959 the botanical collection was transferred to the new Herbarium, and the Museum and the Art Gallery became separate institutions. The Museum focused its collecting and research interests in the areas of natural sciences, anthropology, archaeology and the State’s history. Over the 1960s and 1970s it also began to work in the emerging areas of historic shipwrecks and Aboriginal site management.

The Western Australian Museum continued to grow, expanding to six public museums across the State: in addition to Perth, there are two museums in Fremantle and one each in Albany, Kalgoorlie-Boulder and Geraldton.

The Museum also has a Collections and Research Centre in Welshpool and assists in the management of a seventh public site, Gwoonwardu Mia: Gascoyne Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Centre, in Carnarvon.