As a part of MAG&M, there is also a dedicated Museum space that is devoted to Manly’s unique history.
Opened in 1982, the Museum focuses on the history of Manly and the Northern Beaches with changing, annual exhibitions.



Exhibition Dates: 7 November 2014 -  26 April 2015


This private photographic collection presents unique views of beaches and their inhabitants across continents and generations. Locations range from Europe and Asia in the 19th century, the USA in the 1940s and up to 1980s in Australia, reminding us of the diverse role beaches play across cultures.  They feature in the consciousness of many societies and while they are primarily thought of as backdrops for sources of food and for sport and recreation, they have been used as trading stations, prisons and battlefields.  A special selection of photographs features the ‘imagined’ beach scenes of early 20th century postcards.



Exhibition Dates: 6 September 2013 – 8 June 2014


Manly Art Gallery & Museum and guest curator Keith Vincent Smith assembled a fascinating exhibition of watercolours, engravings, drawings, artifacts and other objects documenting the ‘first encounters’ between English settlers and the Gamaragal, the Aboriginal people who lived at what is now Manly and Northern Sydney, in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries.


ON THE BEACH: Gems from the MAG&M Swimwear Collection

Exhibition Dates: 2 September 2011 – 14 August 2014


An exhibition exploring Manly Art Gallery’s unique collection of swimwear and beach paraphernalia. From the woolen ‘neck to knee’ swimwear of the Victorian and Edwardian era, to the skimpy ‘itsy-bitsy’ bikinis of the 60s. Manly’s collection documents the evolving fashions and styles of swimwear and our changing relationship with the beach. Curated by Sarah Johnson.


ROYAL FAR WEST: Caring for Country Kids’ in Manly

Exhibition Dates: 3 September 2010 – 29 August 2011


A museum exhibition presented in partnership with the Royal Far West. This exhibition gave insight into the unique history and service provided by Royal Far West, operating in Manly since 1924. Initially bringing children from remote country areas for respite in Manly’s seaside environment and now providing specialist heath services that are not available in rural areas. Curated by Margo Bavinton.


SUMMER DAYS: The Holiday House on the Northern Beaches

Exhibition Dates: 11 September 2009 – 22 August 2010


This museum exhibition explored different styles of holiday homes built on Sydney’s Northern beaches during the last 150 years, focusing on social and architectural aspects of the houses and their relationship to the bush and the beach. From Walter Burley Griffin and Alexander Stewart Jolly to Peter Stutchbury and Richard Leplastrier. Curated by Virginia Macleod.



Exhibition Dates: 4 April 2009 – 16 March 2009


‘The Nature of Manly’ exhibition explored the unique geology of Manly’s natural environment, the changes over time to its natural elements, animals and plants, and to the built environment. Curated by Virginia Macleod.

Explore this important addition to our history by downloading these specifically created interactive documents.



 Exhibition Dates: 2 March 2007 – 30 March 2008


This museum exhibition explored the development of small business in Manly, including the rise of famous Australian companies such as Darrell Lea and Driza Bone in Manly, as well as those businesses which have become synonymous with Manly: hotels and entertainment, trade and tourism, hospitality and retail, surfing and beach culture. Curated by Sarah Johnson.


SCHOOL’S IN: A History of Education in Manly

 Exhibition Dates: 1 April 2006 – 18 March 2007


This exhibition revealed the history of education in Manly, from 1850s until present and it’s evolution. The exhibition looked at the various public and private primary and high schools, their teachers and students, dress and activities, as well as the buildings. Curated by local historian Anne Smith.