Art galleries and museums are the home of our nation's cultural and artistic heritage. They house creativity, develop and challenge our sense of national and personal identity and often leave us inspired. No matter where you live in Australia, you can find an accessible and inclusive gallery experience. Here are some of our suggestions for this summer depending on your state or territory:
📍 New South Wales
The Museum of Contemporary Art works to connect people who have a disability with contemporary art. Their longstanding Bella Program offers a range of creative and accessible programs for all ages, informed by the ethos that "art is for everyone." The iconic gallery building is accessible by wheelchair from all entrances, has lifts to every floor and accessible toilets. Assistance and guide dogs are welcome (with a water bowl available at the Information Desk on Level 1). Those with sensory disabilities can make use of hearing loops and large print captions. Learn more about the gallery's access information here.
The prestigious Art Gallery of NSW is a must visit venue, inclusive in every way. All areas of the Gallery are physically accessible for those with mobility restrictions, and the gallery hosts programs that create opportunities for focused encounters with art through visual, auditory and tactile, or sensory experiences. People with intellectual disabilities can request a free and customised tour of the gallery. Tactile and sensory tours are also freely available, including Auslan interpreters for deaf visitors and audio-described tours of the permanent galleries and temporary exhibitions are available for visitors who are blind or with low vision. However, you will need to book these experiences as least two weeks in advance before your visit. Learn more about the gallery's access information here.
The National Gallery of Victoria is committed to creating a space that is accessible for everyone. In addition to accessible toilets, lifts and escalators, the venue offers audio descriptions, hearing loops, Auslan interpreters and large print artwork labels for visitors with sensory disabilities. The NGV also hosts programs and resources for autistic children and adults, including Relaxed Sessions with fewer people and reduced sensory stimuli, to welcome autistic visitors or people with disability, dementia, mental health or chronic illness conditions. You can learn more about the gallery's access information here.
Interested in a bit of a different museum experience? Find interactive exhibitions focused on all things film and moving images at the ACMI. Immerse yourself in vibrant technologies and artworks that create our shared screen culture in a space that is accessible to wheelchairs and supportive of hearing loops, with free hearing devices available for the ACMI Cinemas and Studios. Guide Dogs and registered assistance animals are welcome, and mobility equipment can be hired. Learn more about the venue's access here.
Fusing old and new, the Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art have their own distinct personalities united in their purpose to share exceptional art. The two galleries offer customised volunteer guided tours for visitors with disability. Tours for visitors with disability are scheduled between February and November and are free unless otherwise stated, and need to be arranged in advanced. Tours can include the use of Auslan interpreters, the use of assistive listening devices (FM system) or hearing loops, and audio-described tours for people with low or no vision. The building is wheelchair accessible, with a mobility scooter or wheelchair available for free hire via booking, and registered assistance dogs are welcome. The museum also offers low sensory viewings for visitors with autism or sensory sensitivities. Learn more about the gallery's access information here.
For a bit of history and art, the Museum of Brisbane and City Halland City Hall is the place to go. The venue is wheelchair accessible throughout all spaces, except the heritage-listed clocktower which has two flights of stairs. If you have a sensory impairment, you can contact the museum directly to have accomodations made to best fit your experience and needs. Learn more about access at their website here.
Located on Hobart's historic waterfront, you'll find the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. The venue is accessible throughout, with loan wheelchairs available from the Visitor Information desk and guide dogs welcome. The museum offers a little bit of everything, operating as a combined museum, art gallery and state herbarium. In Northern Tasmania, located in Launceston, the Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery (QVMAG) is another major destination for art, history and natural sciences that is accessible throughout. A wheelchair is available at both QVMAG sites for visitors, although bookings are advised.
If you're looking for an immersive and unusual experience, visit the world-renowned Mona located just outside of Hobart. Most of Mona is accessible, with exception to the Pausiris chamber, as well as certain artworks (Unseen Seen, The Divine Comedy) and parts of the Round House. If you have difficulties walking long distances, the museum recommends bringing a wheelchair or mobility scooter, or borrowing a wheelchair from the museum by speaking with the staff at the entrance. Accessible parking and toilets are available throughout the museum. The maze-like venue can cause a bit of sensory overload, so it's best to contact the venue when planning your visit to seek advice on which exhibitions will be best enjoyed. You can learn more here.
If you're in regional Tasmania and want a different art experience, we suggest visiting the town of Sheffield for their famous outdoor gallery of murals. The outdoor gallery is wheelchair accessible.
📍 South Australia
Located at the heart of Adelaide's cultural boulevard, the Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) is accessible for people with mobility restrictions in all areas, and visitors can hire wheelchairs for free from the gallery. People with sensory disabilities are also encouraged to visit with accomodations in place to meet all needs. Guide dogs and assistance dogs are welcome, free audio-description and multi-sensory tours are designed specifically for blind and vision-impaired visitors, and free Auslan interpreted guided tours of exhibitions and the general collection are presented regularly for deaf and hearing-impaired visitors. Learn more about the museum's access information here.
While you're in Adelaide, you can visit ACE Open, a modern gallery that provides transformative contemporary art experiences. The venue is fitted with accessible facilities, including wheelchair access, and staff have completed autism awareness training with Autism SA. The museum welcomes assistance dogs into the gallery, and have a dog water bowl available on site. Learn more about their access accomodations here.
If you're spending time outside of the state's capital, we recommend visiting the Barossa Regional Gallery, which is wheelchair accessible.
📍 Western Australia
If you're based on the West Coast, then Perth's Art Gallery of Western Australia (AGWA) is a must-visit. The venue's facilities are accessible to people with mobility restrictions, and the gallery offer a walking frame, manual wheelchairs and an electric buggy for use. Large format print labels are available upon request. Learn all about their accessibility accomodations and programs here. After visiting the museum, continue to explore Perth's art scene with the inclusive and vibrant Perth Cultural Centre. Discover public artworks, other accessible museum and attractions, sensory playgrounds and more in this completely accessible space.
📍 Northern Territory
Home to internationally renowned artistic, cultural and scientific collections, Darwin's Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) offers an inclusive experience for people with mobility restrictions. The venue's facilities are wheelchair accessible, internally and externally, and there is a limited number of wheelchairs available for free use with bookings. Learn more about the museum's access accomodations here.
If you are in the red centre of our country, you can visit the wheelchair accessible Walkatjara Art Centre at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park to immerse yourself in Indigenous Australian art and culture. While you're visiting Uluru, the Field of Light installation is another inclusive art experience for people with disabilities. It is possible to request a wheelchair accessible tour of Field of Light should you have mobility restrictions, although the desert terrain may require a specific type of wheelchair. It is best to make arrangements and plan your visit.
📍 Australian Capital Territory
Australia's capital is home to some of the best art collections in the country, and some of the most accessible venues as well. Canberra's National Gallery of Australia accommodates and welcomes everyone. The collection is made up of almost 160,000 works of art, including the world’s largest collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. The Gallery offers hearing loops, braille guides and welcomes service dogs. The building's facilities are accessible, and wheelchairs, motorised scooters, wheelie walkers and walking sticks are available for free with a booking. Learn more about the venue's access accomodations here. A range of free programs are designed with and for people with disabilities as well, including tours, workshops and opportunities for communities to engage with the Gallery’s collection and exhibitions. The Gallery can also develop tours and workshops with you. Learn more about their access programs here.
Similarly, the nearby National Portrait Gallery is accessible throughout with wheelchairs and walkers available at no charge from the Information Desk. Registered assistance and Guide Dogs are welcome in all spaces at the Gallery. Hearing loops are available in certain areas and the Gallery has committed to producing audio-descriptions of artworks from their Collection to turn the visual into the verbal.