Museums Discovery Centre opens up the states great collections

For the first time, the diverse and rich collections of three of Australia’s leading museums will be housed in one facility and on permanent display to the public.

The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS), the Australian Museum and Sydney Living Museums have collaborated to open the new Museums Discovery Centre (MDC) at Castle Hill. These museums care for millions of objects and specimens as part of the NSW’s state collections, providing insights into engineering, architecture, science, art, transport, fashion, design, health, technology, natural history, domestic life, Indigenous and Pacific cultures and more.

To celebrate this historic collaboration, the Museums Discovery Centre will be open free to the public on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 September 2016. Visitors on the weekend will be the first to experience the treasures from three of Sydney’s favourite museum under the one roof, and learn about museum collecting, conservation and research practices.

Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts, Troy Grant, said the Museums Discovery Centre was a unique collaboration.

“The Museums Discovery Centre is an Australian first collaboration, which brings together three of our state’s major museums to increase public access and offer a completely unique museum experience.”

Minister for Environment and Heritage, Mark Speakman said the Museums Discovery Centre was a state of the art cultural facility.

“The 9,000 square metre refurbished deep stores, shared by each of the museums, and upgraded public display stores provide NSW with facilities of an international standard, enhancing the public’s access to these great collections and the museums’ capacity to care for their collections for generations to come.”

MAAS Director, Dolla Merrillees, said visitors would gain a new appreciation for the world of museums.

“Visiting the Museums Discovery Centre is an experience like no other offered in Australia. Many of the items in the display stores have never been exhibited before, and there are many more treasures to be seen by taking a booked tour through the deep stores where the museum staff work day to day.”

Australian Museum Director and CEO, Kim McKay AO, said that the Museums Discovery Centre was unique in that it brings together the most significant objects from three muchloved museums.

“Together, we’re giving the public unprecedented access to explore the diverse collections of three distinctly different museums, all of whom share the responsibility of safeguarding our shared history and helping to promote an understanding of the world around us.”

Sydney Living Museums Executive Director, Mark Goggin, said that the MDC would provide a unique opportunity for visitors to explore the connections between three of NSW’s great cultural collections.

“The Museums Discovery Centre enables us to reveal the many stories of history and heritage interspersed though our combined collections and share this knowledge with visitors through collaborative displays, tours and education programs.”

The MDC houses objects as large as the Ice Bird yacht from Dr David Lewis’s exploration of Antarctica, and as small as rare butterflies; as ancient as a 20,000 year old Paleolithic artefact from Mossel Bay in South Africa, and as locally significant as furnishings from historic NSW homes.

Many objects at MDC will be on public display for the first time, along with hundreds of objects that would usually be in storage, offering unprecedented access to the collections of the three museums. From 19 September the Museums Discovery Centre will be open to the public from Monday to Friday every week, and four weekends per year for open weekends. A range of free and paid programs will also be on offer throughout the school holidays.

Museums Discovery Centre
170 Showground Road, Castle Hill
Opening hours: Monday – Friday: 10am to 5pm
Admission: $10 adult, $8 concession, children 16 years and under free

Opening weekend: 17-18 September 2016, 10am-5pm, free admission

See or further information.

Previous PostWe farewell Michael Huxley
Next PostInterview – Glenn Barkley, Curator, Objects in Space: Artists in the Garden