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.

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

Reopening of Collection Services

We are pleased to announce that the South Australian Museum is gradually reopening access to its collections. While we continue to work through essential audit tasks, we are now able to slowly resume our collection services as capacity allows.

  • Acquisitions: We are now accepting acquisitions on a limited basis. Please contact us to discuss any potential donations.

  • Loans and Viewing Requests: We are also starting to process requests for loans and viewings of collection items. We appreciate your patience as we work through these requests.

  • Aboriginal Cultural Heritage: We remain committed to prioritising access for Aboriginal communities to their cultural heritage materials, especially for repatriation activities.

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

For any questions or further information, please contact us at

Thank you for your understanding and support.

Coming up next


Up next:

Mineral sciences