Since 1856 the South Australian Museum has been the keeper of the state’s treasures, caring for collections of national and international significance. We exist to inspire in all people wonder and curiosity about life on Earth. And we’re keen to get back to the work we do.
In response to the South Australian Government’s Roadmap for easing COVID-19 restrictions, the South Australian Museum has re-opened.
To ensure everyone has a comfortable and safe visit, you will notice some changes at the Museum. These include capacity limits throughout the Museum, a reduction in touchscreens, and increased social distancing and hygiene guidance. These changes are for your safety and enjoyment of the Museum while you visit. You can read more about these changes in the frequently asked questions below.
We have used our closure time to find new ways to connect you with the Museum. In April we launched Content for Connection, a portal to the Museum’s stories, exhibitions, programs, research, and more, accessible from the comfort of your home. We’ll continue to bring you this offering and hope that we can spark curiosity and fascination however you choose to engage with us.
However, we understand that the experience of stepping inside the Museum building is unmatched. On your return, you’ll be able to experience the wonders of the galleries and visit the Museum Shop and Café. We have also extended the date of the spectacular McMahon Collection in the Australian Aboriginal Cultures Gallery.
Our purpose is to provide enrichment through a greater understanding of culture and nature, bringing people together to learn, grow, and connect as a community.
So, when you’re ready, lose yourself at the Museum and you’ll soon find we are alive with wonder.
Director, South Australian Museum
For further information about COVID-19 the following sources are available:
Australian Government Coronavirus Health Information Line: 1800 020 080
Welcome back – we’ve missed you.
All our galleries, the Museum Shop and the Museum Café.
See our What’s on page for more information.
Staff facilitated cloaking facilities, Discovery Centre, the Mawson Centre and the Museum Archives.
There are presently no group tours, school bookings or public events scheduled.
Before you visit
Please be aware that in line with Government advice, from 29 June and in line with the Step 3 of the South Australian Government’s Roadmap for easing COVID-19 restrictions, the Museum will permit 1 person per 2 sqm.
To assist us with visitor flow and queue management, please consider limiting your visit to one hour. In periods of peak demand, we will have to institute timed ticketing for visitors and restrict all sessions to one hour.
The Museum is a large and varied institution with a wide range of galleries and displays to offer. For first time visitors or those that haven’t been for a while, we suggest you plan your visit with our visitor guide here.
To help you navigate the Museum we recommend printing the Museum map before arrival or viewing it on your phone here.
Bring a credit or debit card for any on-site purchases (we won’t be accepting cash).
Avoid bringing large bags (you’ll have to cloak it at your own risk). Self-cloaking is available for visitors and is located next to the Visitor Services Desk in the main foyer. For oversized items for cloaking please approach the visitor services staff.
Don’t visit in a large group.
Don’t visit if you’re unwell, have experienced cold or flu symptoms in the last 14 days, or have returned from overseas in the last 14 days.
Consider downloading the COVIDSafe app
At the Museum
Please enter through the main entrance on North Terrace. The rear door will not be in use. The entrance from the Café terrace to the Museum will only be available to those visiting the Café – the hallway between the Café and the Museum will have bollards in place at all times.
Please be patient if there are queues as the Museum’s overall capacity is currently restricted. To assist us with visitor flow and queue management, please consider limiting your visit to one hour. In periods of peak demand, we will have to institute timed ticketing for visitors and restrict all sessions to one hour.
Please use the hand-sanitiser provided on arrival.
Please use our ‘Bag your Brolly’ located at the entrance to bag and cover any wet umbrellas before entering the Museum.
Maintain physical distancing of 1.5 metres from others at all times, and observe capacity limits for each gallery space.
If necessary, please wait in the queue or go elsewhere if a particular space has too many people.
Allow less-mobile visitors to use lifts first, or consider using the stairs.
Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, and put the tissue in a bin.
Wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds in our restrooms.
Please don’t touch the showcases or exhibits.
Visitors with access requirements can still use lifts, and borrow wheelchairs which are sanitised after each use.
Visitors who don’t comply with these conditions will not be admitted and may be asked to leave to ensure the safety of others.
What to expect
There are floor markings and signage to help visitors maintain safe distances.
Each gallery has a maximum capacity in line with current restrictions. Please observe the capacity limits on the signage and follow any directions from staff.
We’re cleaning frequently with hospital-grade disinfectants and touchscreens have been disabled for your safety.
We’ve provided hand sanitiser at the Museum entry and at various places throughout the building for your use.
We’re providing express entry for Members. Not a Member? See details below on how to join.
Love your visits to the Museum and want to become a Member? Sign up to become a Member online here. When you visit you’ll enjoy a range of benefits including:
Unlimited FREE VIP entry to all South Australian Museum exhibitions
Skipping the queues into exhibitions by using the dedicated Members entry
Exclusive invitations to Members experiences (including special family sleepover events at the Museum and Member Mornings)
10% discount in the Museum Shop and Café.
*Subject to Museum capacity.
In line with Government advice, from Monday 29 June and in line with the Step 3 of the South Australian Government’s Roadmap for easing COVID-19 restrictions, the Museum will permit 1 person per 2 sqm. It’s possible that due to this capacity limit, you might need to queue at the Museum entrance. We suggest making accommodation for this, including dressing for the elements, especially if visiting with young children.
Food and drink
While food and drink are not allowed inside the Museum, we have a great Café onsite to cater to your needs and it’s open daily. We would recommend making your selections before you arrive by viewing the menu here.
The Café has an exemption to the Museum’s 1 person per 2 sqm capacity, so 41 people can sit outside and 24 people can sit inside. Entry and exit to the Café is via the Café terrace. If you visit the Café and require toilet access you will have to enter the Museum – the hallway between the Café and the Museum will have bollards in place at all times. Pram parking is available at the interior entrance to the Café.
Did you know the Museum has a pop-up takeaway offering? The SAM Coffee Hut now trades from North Terrace 8am – 2pm Monday – Friday to fulfill all your takeaway coffee and lunch needs. Every purchase you make supports the South Australian Museum. Find out what's on the menu here.
Cloaking and prams
Cloaking is available to visitors within the Museum interior, and belongings must be collected prior to departing the building. Visitors are reminded that placing items in the cloaking area is at their own risk and the South Australian Museum assumes no responsibility for items.
Visitors can also bring prams and utility carts to the Museum (please be mindful of other visitors). We also have dedicated parking in the North Foyer to the left of the stairs. Please ensure you collect your pram before your departure.
Visitors with access needs
If you experience difficulty communicating with staff due to social distancing barriers, please advise and we will move to an alternate position for communication whilst still maintain social distancing requirements.
Learn more about access and inclusion at the Museum here.
Is the South Australian Museum open?
In line with the South Australian Government’s Roadmap for easing COVID-19 restrictions, the South Australian Museum is now open. On your visit you will be able to experience the entire Museum – this includes the Shop, Café, and our temporary exhibition the McMahon Collection.
To guarantee you have a comfortable and safe visit, you will notice some changes at the Museum upon reopening. Read on to learn more.
What steps have you taken to ensure visitor health and safety?
We are committed to offering a welcoming and safe place for our visitors. We want to reassure you that we are taking the necessary steps to minimise any potential impact of COVID-19 at the Museum, in line with the South Australian Government’s advice.
With this in mind we have:
Implemented capacity monitoring at Museum entry.
Signposted capacity limits in all spaces.
Increased our already strong cleaning and sanitation measures throughout all public and administration spaces.
Implemented additional hand sanitation stations throughout the Museum.
Turned off all touchscreens in our galleries to encourage a touchless visit.
Removed all tactile experiences in the Parenting Room.
Introduced a specific COVID-19 induction for staff (including completion of the ‘Stop the spread’ training) and all staff must sign a declaration before resuming work on-site to affirm that they have not been overseas or in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Reinforced employee health and hygiene practices, including sending employees home and encouraging employees who are unwell to stay home if their demonstrated health symptoms could impact upon colleagues or visitors.
We kindly ask anyone who feels unwell to postpone their visit to the Museum until they have fully recovered. Visitors are free to speak to our Visitor Experience Staff if they have any concerns.
We encourage our visitors to stay up to date through the following sources:
Australian Government Coronavirus Health Information Line: 1800 020 080
Are there any changes to the Museum's opening hours?
The Museum remains open from 10am to 5pm seven days a week, but last entry to the Museum is at 4.15pm.
Are there any changes to the operations of the Museum Shop, Café, or SAM Coffee Hut?
Yes. As per the rest of the Museum, the Shop and Café have capacity limits and social distancing and hygiene guidance in place.
The Café has an exemption to the Museum’s 1 person per 2 sqm person capacity, so it can now permit 41 people can sit outside and 24 people can sit inside. Entry and exit to the Café is via the Café terrace. If you visit the Café and require toilet access you will have to enter the Museum – the hallway between the Café and the Museum will have bollards in place at all times. Pram parking is available at the interior entrance to the Café.
Hand sanitiser is available in all areas and we have removed 'tester' stock from our Shop shelves and shared use sugar, pepper and salt dispensers from the Café. For a contactless visit, we kindly request payment by card rather than cash and we are not able to accept keep cups.
Did you know the Museum has a pop-up takeaway offering? The SAM Coffee Hut now trades from North Terrace 8am – 2pm Monday – Friday to fulfill all your takeaway coffee and lunch needs.
Just like the Shop and the Café, every purchase from the SAM Coffee Hut directly contributes to the work of your Museum for current and future generations. We thank you for spending your precious time and dollars with us and look forward to serving you soon.
Is the Discovery Centre open?
No, the Discovery Centre remains closed at this time.
Please note that no material may be brought in for identification or donation at this time. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. However, if you have an object you would like identified we’re still here to help. Send it to us via our Facebook page, text us a picture on 0411 659 261 or email email@example.com.
Can I still play The Shadow Initiation adventure game?
The Shadow Initiation adventure game can still played! Due to health and safety reasons, the touch screens in our permanent galleries have been switched off, resulting in a slightly modified game map being created for the experience. We have a sanitation regime for the tablets to ensure cleanliness and we kindly ask that you wash your hands before and after playing the game. Bookings must be made 24 hours in advance to ensure we can manage capacities at the Museum during COVID-19 restrictions. Thank you for your understanding.
How are you monitoring capacity in the Museum?
In line with Government advice, as of 29 June the Museum’s overall capacity is limited to 1 person per 2 sqm at one time to ensure that we adhere to physical distancing guidelines. Each individual space within the Museum including the shop and café has clear signage to advise visitors of the capacity limits within each area. Our staff monitor capacity limits throughout the Museum on an ongoing basis.
The Café has an exemption to the Museum’s 1 person per 2 sqm person capacity, so it can now permit 41 people to sit outside and 24 people to sit inside. Entry and exit to the Café is via the Café terrace. If you visit the Café and require toilet access you will have to enter via the Museum.s main doors – the hallway between the Café and the Museum will have bollards in place at all times. Pram parking is available at the interior entrance to the Café.
We also recommend that you consider downloading the COVIDSafe app.
Is cloaking still available?
Self-cloaking is available for visitors and is located next to the Visitor Services Desk in the main foyer. For oversized items for cloaking please approach the visitor services area.
Cloaking is available whilst visitors are within the Museum interior and belongings must be collected before departing the building. Visitors are reminded that placing items in the cloaking area is at their own risk and the South Australian Museum assumes no responsibility for items.
We would recommend packing light on your visit to the Museum - you’ll want to spend your time exploring the Museum, not in a queue for cloaking.
Can I visit the Museum as part of a group booking?
At this time the Museum has ceased all tours, inclusive of group tour bookings. Our Front of House staff will happily recommend some alternative self-guiding options for your visit.
Is the Museum taking school group bookings?
The Museum is not able to accept school group bookings before Term Four (or until restrictions ease on school excursions). This restriction extends to visits to the Discovery Centre. Discovery cases and touch trollies will also not be available for use before Term Four.
What support is the Museum providing for vulnerable people visiting at this time?
The South Australian Museum is dedicated to ensuring that all visitors have an enjoyable experience at the Museum.
If you experience difficulty communicating with staff due to social distancing barriers please just let the friendly Front of House staff know and we will move to an alternate position for communication whilst still maintain social distancing requirements.
If you require assistance to complete the visitor declaration please let our Front of House staff know and we can assist with completing your entry requirements.
In the near future we hope to be able to offer a two-hour visitation window as a designated quiet time for vulnerable and at-risk patrons and visitors with autism diagnoses. Look out for updates via our website and social media channels.
Learn more about access and inclusion at the Museum here.
What public programs is the Museum offering now that it has re-opened?
Apart from the main Museum galleries, the McMahon Collection in the Australian Aboriginal Cultures Gallery is available for viewing.
Currently we will not resume paid or free public programming before the October school holidays.
The Museum will continue to develop online programming content for National Science Week (15-23 August 2020) as it did for National Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June 2020). Connect with the Museum’s programming via Content for Connection.
Are there changes to venue hire and events?
The Museum has the ability to hold venue hire events at reduced capacities as of 29 June 2020, in line with Step 3 South Australian COVID-19 restrictions. These restrictions to events include one person per 2 square metres maximum across the venue space and maintaining 1.5 metres of social distancing. People attending an event will also be required to provide their full name, email address, or phone number to a staff member onsite. The Museum will retain a record of this information and may be asked to produce these details at the request of an authorised officer in the future.
We are happy to accommodate small meetings or events with the above restrictions as of 29 June 2020. Our events team is also happy to discuss and plan your future event bookings for later in 2020 or beyond.
Any questions or enquiries, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org