Ayers House Museum – a partnership that crosses generations

Partners since 2015, Ayers House Museum is the last remaining mansion on North Terrace, in the heart of Adelaide. This beautiful Victorian home offers visitors a hands-on experience of 19th Century life which allows children to feel what it must have been like living and working in a grand residence.

Using hands-on activities is a great way to link new concepts to ideas that children are learning at school, and Ayers House Museum truly understands the importance of learning through participation. Visitors can try their hand at sewing, playing games, rolling dough in the kitchen, or simply exploring the house at their own pace.  Click here to see some of the things you can do at Ayers House Museum.

It’s learning experiences like these that have the greatest impact on children, remaining in their memories for many years.

About Ayers House

At first a small cottage, the site where Ayers House stands today evolved in several stages from a nine-roomed brick house built by chemist William Paxton in the early 1850s. Upon returning to England, Paxton leased the property to Henry Ayers, a fellow businessman poised to become one of the colony’s most wealthy and influential politicians and financiers.

Henry and his wife Anne created an opulent home with fine furnishings and fixtures, most imported from England, that showcased the wealth and status they had acquired since emigrating in 1840.

Today, the National Trust of South Australia manage the museum.

Visitors who enjoy this Learning Destination may like to research further study in history, architecture, management, and tourism and hospitality.

For more information about Ayers House Museum, please visit their website.


Upon entry to the museum receive your discovery kit and clip board. Choose to do the Explore, Discover and Participate trail or the activity written especially for the current display.  Before you leave return your kit and throw the Children’s University dice. Share your answers with the friendly person at reception and then get your passport stamped.

Ayers House Museum Online – In 2020, Children’s University responded to the COVID 19 pandemic by contacting Learning Destination partners to see if we could facilitate transferring some activities online.  Unsurprisingly, Ayers House Museum was one of the first destinations to rise to the challenge, creating a wide variety of engaging activities, many of which are now available to Children’s University members.  From poetry and games to songs, riddles and craft activities, staff at Ayers House Museum have created activities certain to entertain Children’s University members who might otherwise never get to experience this beautiful destination.

Children’s University have been happy to assist in the promotion of these activities knowing that by doing so we are supporting both our Learning Destination partner and Children’s University members, especially those living in regional and remote areas.

Please click here to sample the activities on offer.

Working Together

Since 2015, the National Trust has designed and delivered many wonderful School Holiday Programs within the grounds of Ayers House. Children’s University is proud to have been involved behind the scenes in some of these events.

In fact, Ayers House Museum offers a great example of how Learning Destinations and Children’s University can work together to develop high-quality learning experiences for visitors.

In 2016, a group of Children’s University members helped to trial a new program, Daring and Dancing which was later validated and made available to the wider community.

‘We have had many families come who did not know the Ayers House Museum existed! They loved being surrounded by the grandeur of the home. I remember one grandma came to the museum with her grandson, she told me that since her grandson had joined Children’s University she had been to lots of wonderful places that she had never visited before. Families like the fact that the museum allows people to spend time together in a place that encourages playful and creative learning. I have overheard many interesting conversations between adults and children about the museum and its contents. I especially like it when parents and grandparents share memories that are triggered by our collection.’ Helen Lawry, Education Presenter, Ayers House

By working together with Learning Destinations, Children’s University hopes to support Learning Destination partners in providing a wide range of high-quality learning opportunities.

In turn, with the support of organisations like the National Trust and Ayers House Museum, Children’s University is able to fulfil its goal of improving educational outcomes through encouraging and celebrating participation in extra-curricular learning.