National Capital Exhibition

See the fascinating history of Canberra laid out for you through engaging and interactive exhibits in this modern, family-friendly museum. 

Make the National Capital Exhibition your starting point for discovering the past and present of Canberra. This museum presents the story of Australia’s capital in a way that will capture the imaginations of visitors of all ages. Set aside a few hours to wander the exhibits and take in the gorgeous panoramic views the museum’s rotunda design offers.

Canberra has a unique and interesting history that is certainly worth learning about. Unlike many world capitals, it did not develop organically into the national seat of government. Instead, this spot was chosen in 1911 as the site of the new capital which would replace Melbourne. A competition was launched to find a design for the new city, and was won by American architect Walter Burley Griffin. See his designs for the city in this special museum and wonder at the ways in which modern Canberra has matched, and grown far beyond, his vision of a leafy garden city.

The museum’s exhibitions are not limited to this one strand of the city’s history. Gain insight into the culture of the Aboriginal people who made these lands their home long before the city of Canberra was conceived. Get a new perspective on central Canberra as you see it shrunk down to a wonderfully detailed scale model, which is bathed in light during the Canberra Sound and Light Show. As you explore the museum, look through the windows to see wonderful views of iconic Canberra landmarks such as the Captain Cook Memorial Fountain, Lake Burley Griffin and the National Monuments Triangle.

Bring kids to the museum at any time and they are sure to be entertained by the array of hands-on exhibits created with them in mind. Check the events calendar before you come, though, as special events for children are often held here. These include the likes of an organized Duplo™ session for toddlers, to get budding architects’ creative juices flowing.

The National Capital Exhibition is free to enter and is open all days except certain public holidays, with shorter hours on the weekends.