Discover fascinating heritage collections and world-class exhibitions at major institutions.
Find new perspectives and local insight in regional spaces where meeting with the artists is common. And be challenged and inspired by the legendary cheek of Mona.
Best galleries and design
The Museum of New and Old Art, aka Mona, inspires a gamut of reactions, and that’s just the way they intend it. Housing one of the world’s most controversial private art collections, Mona is experimental, experiential – and the fun begins with a river ride on a camouflaged ferry from Hobart’s waterfront.
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG)
The second oldest gallery in Australia, Hobart’s TMAG has a breadth of art that includes the First Peoples Art and Culture department, which has a global indigenous collection of more than 12,000 objects and artworks. TMAG hosts blockbuster travelling exhibitions and houses other unique collections such as one dedicated to colonial decorative arts and the poignant thylacine (Tasmanian tiger) collection.
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG)
A remarkable and varied collection of Australian and international art and design awaits at Queen Victoria Museum in Launceston’s Inveresk, and Queen Victoria Art Gallery in nearby Royal Park, including a large collection documenting influential Tasmanian printmaker Bea Maddock’s work. Find also Tasmanian colonial art, contemporary Australian art, and a fascinating decorative arts collection.
This light-filled gallery in Launceston’s City Park is the best place to check out the island’s design credentials in ceramics, metal, wood, glass and wicker. Design Tasmania’s showpiece is a permanent collection of more than 70 pieces of contemporary wood design assembled since 1990, including Tasmanian design hero Kevin Perkins’s acclaimed Cape Barren Goose cabinet made from Huon pine and silky oak. The reputation of this small but powerful not-for-profit has gone global with pieces from the collection exhibited in many other places.
Salamanca Arts Centre
In the Georgian-era sandstone warehouses of Salamanca Place, Salamanca Arts Centre spans a raft of retail galleries and studios selling the works of artists and artisans from Tasmania and beyond. Wander through to the outdoor installation garden and venture upstairs to the (long) Long Gallery.
West Coast Heritage Centre
The West Coast Heritage Centre in Zeehan takes you back in time to the region’s historical mining boom. See an impressive collection of rare and unique mineral specimens acquired before the Zeehan School of Mines and Metallurgy closed in the 1960s; watch 1920s silent films in the grand Gaiety Theatre; or find a cluster of exhibits portraying the unique heritage of each of the west coast’s regions at the Pioneer's Museum.
Along the snaking bends of kanamaluka / River Tamar sits Sawtooth ARI Gallery – a hub of experimental art, palawa / Tasmanian Aboriginal exhibitions and contemporary ideas. The gallery showcases the fruitful collaboration between Launceston-based creatives and features artists of both local and international acclaim. Recent exhibitions include Hiromi Tango and Interweave Arts’ Rainbow Healing Garden – a vibrant, multicoloured set of sculptures fashioned using sustainable materials.
Venture out into Tasmania’s rural communities to find pockets of unbridled creativity. Art as Mania showcases bespoke woodwork, botanical crafts and other pieces from more than 90 local artists and makers in the artsy northern town of Deloraine. Or head north west to Sheffield – a creative town steeped in artistic expression, hosting several indoor and outdoor galleries including Sheffield Art Gallery, Mural Park, and Working Art Space . Or head down south to the quirky, crafty country town of Cygnet to see inspired sculptures, ceramics, jewellery and visual art at Lovett Gallery Cygnet.