The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is a privately-owned art gallery located in Hobart, Tasmania.
Opened at the start of 2011, MONA brings together modern and contemporary art.
Although, this is a an unusual museum and art gallery mash-up.
Since its opening, MONA has become one of Hobart’s leading cultural institutions and is quickly making a name for itself in Australia and the world.
MONA offers unexpected art entertainment to educate their visitors.
Things to see and do at MONA
MONA houses more than 400 artistic pieces from the collection of founder David Walsh.
This ‘evolving exhibition’ is known as Monanism.
It is the main permanent collection on display.
Monanism opened with the museum and has continued to grow in the years since.
It includes a number of significant pieces, as well as some less significant works that have attracted their fair share of attention.
For example, Sidney Nolan’s Snake is in the collection, but so is a machine that turns food into excrement and the remnants of a suicide bomber cast in dark chocolate.
MONA hosts a range of temporary exhibits on a rotating calendar.
The exhibits stay for three and ten months.
Past exhibits have explored themes such as the Red Queen in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, along with curated exhibits by a single artist.
Ultimately, MONA aims to recreate the idea of what a museum and art gallery should be.
MONA is unique among many museums.
There are no labels or informational plaques spread around the site.
Instead, MONA uses a tool they call The O.
The O is a device similar to a smart phone that is distributed free to all visitors at the information desk.
It uses indoor positioning technology (essentially a kind of GPS) to provide details on artwork near you.
This allows you to explore the museum at your own pace, without worrying about crowds or missing out on information.
It also increases the amount of information you can view at any time.
You can save information on The O so you can see your personalised experience later.
Food & Drinks
There are a few places to get food or drinks on site.
This includes the Source Restaurant, Museum Cafe, Wine Bar and the Void Bar.
MONA also offers a cellar door where you can taste Moorilla wine and Moo Brew beers.
MONA has a cinema, known as Cinemona, that screens a variety of art films and theatre.
They also host a number of events including music and art performances.
The most well-known of these is the MONA FOMA (Museum of Old and New Art: Festival of Music and Art), which is Tasmania’s largest contemporary music and art festival.
MONA is home to around 5,000 books held in a dedicated library.
The library is located in the Round House, accessible via a tunnel.
You can expect to see a collection of books, part of David Walsh’s collection, focusing on ancient cultures.
This includes the Roman, Greek and pre-Colombian groups, as well as modern and contemporary art.
Visitors can come and read at their leisure or take time to view the library’s artworks and architecture.
To purchase any kind of souvenir or memorabilia of a trip to MONA, you can visit the MONA shop.
The shop sells a range of souvenir items as well as specific items for temporary exhibits.
There are a small number of art publications, including the autobiography of founder David Walsh.
How to get to MONA
Driving to MONA takes under 20 minutes via National Highway 1.
Parking is available for free onsite, but the amount of parking is very limited and the museum suggests alternative transport to ease crowds.
Metro bus numbers 36, 37, 42 and XI all pass by MONA regularly throughout the week.
Alternatively, take the MONA Roma Express Bus from Hobart.
The ferry is the most popular way for visitors to travel to MONA, as it provides an opportunity to see the river.
MONA runs its own fast ferry, which leaves from the Brooke Street ferry terminal in Hobart.
Standard and first-class seating is available.
Perhaps the easiest way to get to MONA is to join a guided tour.
On a tour, you’ll also see other popular Hobart attractions.
This includes Cascade Gardens, Cascades Female Factory Historic Site, Rosny Hill Lookout, Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and of course MONA.
- MONA is built primarily underground. At street level, the building is a single-story construction that fades into the surrounds intended to surprise visitors when they first enter. Upon entering, you can travel down several floors and explore the museum which has no windows in the pursuit of total immersion.
- MONA offers lifetime memberships, but it also takes it one step further. For a fee of $75,000, members can enjoy all the perks of being a member during their life. Then when they die, MONA will have them cremated and put in a jar inside the museum.