South Australian Museum



The South Australian Museum is one of Australia’s most visited Museums and the highest-producing research Museum in terms of scientific publications. Our strategic plan describes our purpose as “To inspire in all people a wonder and curiosity about life on Earth”.


South Australian Museum. Photo by Sam Noon, courtesy South Australian Museum

South Australian Museum. Photo by Sam Noonan, courtesy South Australian Museum


The Museum cares for more than four million objects and specimens, collected over more than 150 years. We aim to use our world class collections to create and share new knowledge, and these collections are the foundation of our research, exhibition, education and public programs. They form a vital part of Australia’s natural and cultural heritage.


The museum’s collections span arachnology, herpetology, ichthyology, marine and terrestrial invertebrates, ornithology and parasitology. The collections focus on the fauna of South Australia, but have significant international holdings, especially from Antarctica and Papua New Guinea.


The Australian Biological Tissue Collection is the largest in the southern hemisphere. Its collection of more than 125,000 specimens covers most vertebrate groups as well as a broad representation of major invertebrate groups from Australia and surrounding regions. It is regularly accessed by researchers across the globe, often working in partnership with our Evolutionary Biology Unit.


Researchers in biological sciences at the South Australian Museum partner with local, interstate and international universities, the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, amateur scientific societies, other state agencies and scientists across Australia and the world.


The South Australian Museum makes data and images from our collections accessible through the Online Zoological Collections of Australian Museums (OZCAM) and the Atlas of Living Australia. Making our collections digitally accessible helps rapid advances in knowledge and opens otherwise inaccessible collections to the public, environmental, resource management and enthusiast communities.