E.J (Eddie) Connellan, a pioneer of aviation in the Northern Territory, established Alice Springs' first aerodrome on this site in 1939. The original hangar, associated buildings and the Connellan family homestead remain and formed the original part of the Araluen Cultural Precinct. Eddie Connellan secured the pastoral lease adjoining the aerodrome in 1940 and it is this 16.5 hectare site which Connellan named Araluen, after his family property near Swan Hill in Victoria.
The site is culturally significant to Aboriginal people of the area. There are seven registered sacred sites and trees of significance on the Precinct which belong to the Two Women Dreaming Track.
Most of the attractions of the Araluen Cultural Precinct have been located on the site for many years as individual entities. The Central Australian Aviation Museum was officially opened in May 1979. Five years later in response to community needs, the Araluen Arts Centre was built. At the same time Territory Craft moved into the old Connellan staff quarters situated next door to the Araluen Arts Centre. Then in 1991 the Strehlow Research Centre was built to house the Strehlow Collection. Finally, in early 1999, the redesigned Museum of Central Australia was relocated from the Central Business District to the Precinct site.
This relocation of the museum completed the Araluen Cultural Precinct which was officially opened on Saturday 28 August 1999.