The South Australian Museum is a natural history museum and research institution in Adelaide, South Australia, founded in 1856. It occupies a complex of buildings on North Terrace in the cultural precinct of the Adelaide Parklands. The South Australian Institute, incorporating a public library and a museum, was established in 1847 in the rented premises of the Library and Mechanics' Institute in King William Street whilst waiting construction of the Institute building on the corner of North Terrace and Kintore Avenue.
Frederick George Waterhouse offered his services as curator of the South Australian Institute Museum in June 1859 in an honorary capacity. When the Institute building was completed, the Board appointed him as the first curator, a position he held until his retirement in February 1882. He was succeeded by Wilhelm Haacke, who in January 1883 recommended the South Australian Institute Museum be renamed the South Australian Museum, and the position of Curator be changed to Director. Wilhelm was appointed the first of eleven Directors of the South Australian Institute Museum.