Our Mission

To ignite wonder, inspire debate and drive change.

Our Vision Statement

To be a leading voice for the richness of life, the Earth and culture in Australia and the Pacific. We commit to transform the conversation around climate change, the environment and wildlife conservation; be a strong advocate for First Nations’ culture; and continue to develop world-leading science, collections, exhibitions and education programs.

The Australian Museum is a dynamic source of reliable scientific information and a touchstone for informed debate about some of the most pressing environmental and social challenges facing our region: the loss of biodiversity, a changing climate and the search for cultural identity.

Underpinning our research is an irreplaceable collection of international standing: over 22 million objects representing a timeline of the environmental and cultural histories of the Australian and Pacific regions.

Our collection holds many objects from Indigenous Australia and the Pacific, a record of human diversity and a living wellspring for regional cultural diversity.

It contains irreplaceable fossils, minerals, meteorites and gemstones that provide a geological perspective of the planet. It houses representative specimens of native Australian mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and countless invertebrates that tell many stories about our unique wildlife.

Learn more about the history of the AM, and how we continue to demonstrate modern day relevance and value in connecting people to science, culture and natural history in our news stories from the Australian Museum Blog.


The Australian Museum is a statutory body governed by a Board of Trustees established under the Australian Museum Trust Act 1975.

The Australian Museum Trust (ABN 854 072 246 98) trading as the Australian Museum is a not-for-profit organisation and is principally funded by the NSW Government.

The Australian Museum was established under the Australian Museum Trust Act 1975.

This Act constitutes the Australian Museum Trust as a corporation with the corporate name “Australian Museum Trust” (see Section 5) and defines its powers, authorities, duties and functions.

The Museum is principally funded by the New South Wales Government.

The objectives of the Australian Museum Trust Act are to propagate knowledge about the natural environment of Australia and to increase that knowledge, particularly in the natural sciences of biology, anthropology and geology.

Under the Act the Museum is governed by an 11 member Trust, appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the Minister. One member of the Trust must have knowledge of, or experience in, science, one must have knowledge of, or experience in, education, and one must have knowledge of, or experience in, Australian First Nations culture.

Historic archives

The extant records of the Australian Museum (AM) date from 1836 and form a unique collection of source material for students of natural history, science, Australian history, and the changing role of museums in our society. In conjunction with the acquisition of large collections of specimens and artefacts, there developed a correspondingly large group of supporting documentation, such as accession schedules, purchase and exchange records, correspondence, minutes of various committees, personal papers etc., all of which are part of the Archives holdings.

A large body of official inward and outward correspondence from 1837 onwards is held and the majority of this is indexed. In addition the Archives also holds Minute Books, reports, files, exhibition files, research notes and papers, news cuttings, photographs, drawings and illustrations, material archives, maps, plans, and publications.

Staff records

All records relating to staff, selection, appraisal, recruitment and training are held in the People & Culture unit.

Administrative records

These records cover all aspects of the Museum’s decision-making and administrative functions, and are registered in the central records system or held in local office areas.

Scientific records

The functions of the Australian Museum Research Institute (AMRI) include: management of the natural science collections, research, contributing to public programs, and disseminating information. The records created and maintained reflect these functions: collection records (documenting the acquisition, registration, use, conservation and management of the collections); research records (notes, data, field trips, pictorial material, manuscripts); information files; publications; correspondence files; and administrative records (budgets, corporate plans, grant applications, annual reports, correspondence).

Science at the Australian Museum is guided by the AMRI Science Strategy.


The Australian Museum produces a wide range of publications of both specialist and general interest.

Planning and Policy documents

Policy documents guide the AM's decisions, actions and procedures, while planning documents reflect the Institution's strategies and aspirations.

What kind of government information is made available to the public, and how?

To promote open, accountable, fair and effective government in NSW, members of the public have the right to access certain government information under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009.

This right is restricted only when there is an overriding public interest against disclosing the particular information.

Open access information
The Australian Museum (AM) makes available, free of charge on this website, the following open access information:

  • Annual Reports
  • All other documents that are tabled in Parliament concerning the AM
  • Details of significant contracts and tenders with the private sector.

A request may be made at any time for other information held by the Australian Museum (AM). While the AM reserves the right to require a formal access application to be made, the AM will generally provide the following types of information in response to an informal request, without the need to make a formal access application:

  • Copies of correspondence, where the person requesting the correspondence was the person who sent it to the Museum,
  • Documents that contain only personal information about a particular individual, where the person requesting the document is the individual in question (staff of the museum may gain access to their own files by contacting the HR unit),
  • Documents that have already been made public in some other way, and
  • Other reasonable requests for information, the release of which would not raise any potential concerns in terms of public interests considerations against disclosure.

The Australian Museum reserves the right impose conditions in relation to the use or disclosure of information that is released in response to an informal request.

All of the AM’s published books, serials and reports may be accessed through the Australian Museum Research Library - open by appointment only, please phone +61 2 9320 6152.

Policy and planning documents and archival documents may all be accessed through the Australian Museum Archives. The AM's institutional archives are public records and come under the NSW State Records Act 1998 and are managed and accessed in accordance with that Act. As such, access to records less than 30 years old may be restricted under some circumstances. Public access to acquired archival documents may also be subject to conditions set by the donor at the time of acquisition.

Information available in response to an access application
An access application may be made for all other information held by the AM (other than certain “excluded information”, set out below). Access applications are subject to application fees and processing charges in accordance with the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009.

Please submit enquiries via our online contact form Ask an Archivist.

Access applications may also be mailed to:
Australian Museum Archives
Australian Museum
1 William St
Sydney NSW 2010

Information that is not available in response to an access application
Although an access application may be made for all government information held by the Australian Museum, the AM will not release information if there is an overriding public interest against the disclosure of the information. Some of the particular information that the AM cannot release in response to an access application may include:

  • A document prepared primarily for the purpose of submission to Cabinet, Trust or the Executive,
  • Commercially sensitive information,
  • Personal and/or defamatory material,
  • Culturally sensitive information (for example traditional secret/sacred Aboriginal knowledge or images),
  • Sensitive information about locations of items of Aboriginal or environmental heritage, but only if that information is subject to certain actions under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974, the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 or the Local Government Act 1993, and
  • Documents whose release would constitute a contempt of court or breach a judicial order.

Otherwise, the AM will release information in response to a valid access application unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.

The Australian Museum may hold copies of information that was originally created by other agencies. For the purposes of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009, requests for such information should be made through the originating agency.

The Australian Museum is an NSW Government organisation operating under the Department of Enterprise, Investment and Trade (DEIT) . It supports and encourages the reuse of its publicly funded information, in line with the NSW Government’s Open Data Policy 2016.

This website contains information and media where copyright is held by the Australian Museum as well as other people or organisations. It also contains images that show indigenous cultural activities, cultural materials or people. This may be cultural content of First Nation communities within Australia, indigenous communities in the Pacific or indigenous communities around the world.

The Australian Museum also recognises the rights of indigenous communities to decide how their knowledge is communicated. Permission has been given to the Australian Museum to reproduce the indigenous oral stories, images and personal accounts on this website and for the associated licence to be applied.

You can refer to individual image captions for terms and conditions of use and copyright. We ask you to observe and follow any copyright or related information that may accompany the media on this site and retain that information if reproducing the material in any way. If copyright is owned by a person or organisation that is not the Australian Museum, you will need to seek permission from that person or organisation prior to using it.

The Australian Museum has made all reasonable efforts to locate the owners of copyright material in our information and media. Should anyone become aware that we have used material without permission, please contact us.

The Australian Government’s Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Scheme (PCOL Scheme) has been established to administer the Commonwealth Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Act 2013 (PCOL Act). The PCOL Act was established to encourage international lenders to lend objects for temporary public exhibition in Australia.

The Act limits the circumstances in which the lender, exhibiting institution, exhibition facilitator, and people working for them can lose ownership, possession, custody or control of an object through legal proceedings or seizure while the object is in Australia.

In order to be eligible for protection under the Act, the objects must be loaned by a lender ordinarily resident or incorporated in a country outside Australia or the government of another country, and the objects must be imported into Australia for the primary purpose of temporary public display. The objects will be protected from the date of import until they are exported from the country.

PCOL and the Australian Museum (AM)

The Australian Museum is an approved borrowing institution under the PCOL Act. In compliance with the PCOL Act the AM will publish information about all objects to be protected under the Act prior to their import and until they are exported from the country.

Our people

The Australian Museum is truly a great place to work.

We offer our employees interesting, challenging and rewarding work, as well as a unique employment experience with an emphasis on development and retention.

All employees of the Australian Museum are appointed or employed under the Public Sector Management Act 2002.

Our plans and achievements

Read about our corporate direction, key service strategies and Annual Reports published since 1853.

Make a difference

The Australian Museum needs your support to fund scientific research, to offer exceptional exhibitions and educational programs and to acquire significant objects for our collection.

Donate to the Museum

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