Program bookings

History Festival: Precinct buildings walking tour


Dates and times: Every Mon & Wed in May, 1pm (45 mins)
Tour starting point: Meet in the main foyer, South Australian Museum, North Tce, Adelaide
Cost: Members: $8.00 /  Non-member: $10.00
Book here

Join us for a stroll around the South Australian Museum precinct and discover the varied history of some of the oldest buildings in Adelaide. This tour takes place outside so please ensure you bring weather appropriate clothing and comfortable footwear for walking.

Bookings essential.

For enquiries, please email

Image: Denis Smith.


Young Explorers May: Across the sea

Young boy and shark
When: 21 May - 25 May
Times: 10:15am and 11:15am
Location: meet in the Main foyer.

Book here.

Young Explorers, our fun and educational sessions for 3-to-5-year-olds, is sailing across the sea! Learn about the clothes and costumes of the Pacific Islands.

Please note: This program has been specially designed for children aged 3 to 5 years – if you are bringing an accompanying sibling less than 3 years of age, please care for your younger child to allow the older sibling to fully enjoy the program.

You do not need to print your ticket. Our educators will check your name off at the beginning of the session.

Young Explorers is made for small family groups rather than childcare groups. If you are planning on coming to the Museum with a childcare group, please call 8207 7575 or email to discuss your visit.


Panel discussion: writing towards reconciliation

cook cover

When: Wed 30 May 2018
Time: 5:30 pm – 6:45 pm
Book here

Join us at the Museum during National Reconciliation Week to hear from local authors about the role that storytelling can play on the path to reconciliation.

Allayne Webster, author of the new book The Centre of My Everything, has worked closely with Ngarrindjeri cultural ambassador and South Australian Museum Aboriginal Advisory Committee member, Major 'Moogy' Sumner, to find considered ways to tell stories about Aboriginal characters and culture, as a non-Aboriginal writer. Allayne and Uncle Moogy will be joined by author Vikki Wakefield, who will explore their collaboration and delve into the processes behind the novel.

Our MC for the evening will be Dr Jared Thomas, author and Arts Development Officer at Arts South Australia.

At the conclusion of the panel discussion at 6:45pm, tea and coffee will be served in the Museum's main foyer. Allayne and Vikki's latest novels will be available for sale and the authors will sign copies on the night.


Sprigg lecture series: Prof. John Tibby - Mega-droughts and flooding rains

John Tibby

When: Tuesday 5th June
Time: 6pm – 7pm (the Museum will open to guests at 5:30pm, with a complimentary glass of wine available prior to the talk)
Book here.

Mega-droughts can last two or more decades, and have been responsible for the demise of at least five major civilisations in the past 1500 years. Extreme events such as prolonged droughts or massive floods are occuring ever more frequently, and predictions indicate that there's more to come. Can these events occur naturally, or are they always human-made? Can we reconstruct and learn from previous climates?

In this special Sprigg lecture for World Environment Day, Professor John Tibby will focus on evidence for hydroclimate variation in the 10,000 years since the end of the last ice age, a period with similar climate conditions to the present. He uses evidence from indicators preserved in fossil leaves, pollen and algae, to infer the past hydroclimate. These sediments reveal evidence for substantially more extreme climate events including mega-droughts longer than any in the historical record.

Professor John Tibby currently lectures at the University of Adelaide, and has previously lectured at Loughborough University and University College London. He has been a research associate at Monash University studying the environmental history of the Maritime Continent. His work with the University of Adelaide focuses on the sources and effect of nutrient pollution in the upper Torrens River Catchment.

Suitable for ages 12+

There is no need to print a physical ticket. Museum staff will check off your name at the door.

As places are strictly limited please cancel your Eventbrite booking if you are unable to attend so we can secure a place for others.

For booking enquiries, please call 8207 7575 or email


Behind the scenes: Bolivar facility tours


Please note: all tickets for tours departing from the South Australian Museum have sold out however tickets may still be available for tours departing from the Maritime Museum in Port Adelaide. These tickets include a tour of the South Australian Maritime Museum’s Leviathan exhibition, which features specimens from our collections. You can check ticket availability here.

When: Sunday 17 June

When: 10.00am or 1.30pm

Tickets: Museum Members $18, general $20, Museum Members concession and students $10, general concession/students $12  

Where does a museum store a whale skeleton? And how are the bones prepared for research? The South Australian Museum has been preparing skeletons for research and display since the 1880s, when this work was undertaken in the basement of a former Museum building.

Since the 1980s, the Museum has used a purpose-built facility for large skeleton preparation, located at Bolivar, north of Adelaide. It is the only one of its kind in Australia and one of the best equipped facilities for this work in the world. This Facility has helped the Museum develop the largest and most comprehensive marine mammal collection in Australia.

This is your chance to visit one of the hidden gems of the South Australian Museum.

Visitors will travel from the Museum’s North Terrace location by private bus to tour the facility with Senior Research Scientist, Dr Cath Kemper, and David Stemmer, Collection Manager – Mammals.

Cath and David will guide visitors through the Museum’s Bolivar site, sharing insights into the research and the incredible specimens stored on site including:

- Australia’s largest and most comprehensive collection of whale and dolphin skeletons (including blue whales, right whale, sperm whales)

- The best baleen collection in the Southern Hemisphere

- The facility’s huge heated macerating tanks and gantry crane

- The outside large macerating tank for very large carcasses

- Field gear ready to go for the next large whale (flensing knives, hooks etc)

- Native plantings to encourage wildlife of the Adelaide Plains


These tours are recommended for ages 12+