Library collection

The Museum Library holds a fine natural and cultural history collection. It dates from 1898, and has developed specialised collections in the areas of zoology, taxonomy, anthropology, foreign ethnology, archaeology, earth and environmental sciences and museology.

Temporary suspension of collection services

Access to the Collections of the South Australian Museum will be closed from late November 2023 while our staff undertake essential audit work. During this time we will not be accepting acquisitions or requests for loan or viewing of collection items.

All pre-existing bookings and commitments made prior to December 2023 will be honoured.  We will also continue to honour requests from Aboriginal communities for access relating to repatriation activities.

This closure is expected to continue until mid-2024.

Our galleries remain open to the public, 10am-5pm every day except Christmas Day and Good Friday.

Any questions can be sent to

The Museum library maintains a core collection of key reference works that support scientific collection and exhibition research undertaken at the Museum, as well as assisting with displays and promotion in the galleries.

The collection has grown steadily and includes purchases, exchanges and donations of some rare scientific works. It exists as a vital research tool for Museum staff and is also a source of specialised publications for other researchers.

Subjects covered with a state, national and, where appropriate, international emphasis are:

  • anthropology

  • archaeology

  • world cultures

  • geology

  • mineralogy

  • museum studies and display methods

  • palaeontology

  • natural history

  • zoology.


The library includes monographs and scientific journals, many dating from the 19th century and early 20th century. There are old and rare books published prior to 1900, including volumes of natural history, Australian Aboriginal studies and exploration of Australia.

The library holds approximately 17,000 monographs, 2300 rare books, 30,000 volumes of journals and 21,200 photographic images.

The Records of the South Australian Museum were published from 1918-2003 and can be accessed via the Biodiversity Heritage Library

Library holdings are added to Libraries Australia.

To contact the library please email

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Mineral sciences