Areas of expertise
From soaring skyscrapers to radically designed homes and Australia’s earliest properties, our city lays claim to some of the most stunning and significant buildings in the country. Sydney Living Museums is the keeper of 12 of the most fascinating heritage places and museums. Discover their stories, and Sydney’s intriguing architectural history, through Home & Architecture, an ongoing program of inspiring exhibitions, thought provoking talks and tours, and other events designed for those who like to get up close and personal with how we live.
Sydney Living Museums Food serves up a delicious world of gastronomic tastes, talks and tours. You’re invited to delight in a harbourside Victorian high tea, immerse yourself in a colonial cooking class, indulge in a lavish 18th-century feast or quaff a pint of traditionally crafted peach bragott. Our stunning homes and gardens are the settings for a special menu of enticing food experiences unlike anything else on offer. Unlock your next culinary adventure with us...
The Cook and the Curator:
The Cook and the Curator blog invites you to discover our rich food heritage, as resident gastronomer Jacqui Newling and curator Scott Hill explore our extraordinary properties. Jacqui and Scott have been combing through old cookery books, deciphering handwritten recipes, rediscovering lost culinary arts and revealing family stories. Learn how to blend exotic spices, whip up apple snow, make gelatin from calves' feet (if you dare!) and lay the perfect Regency table – just a portion of what's on the menu.
Museum of Sydney
The Museum of Sydney celebrates the people and events that have shaped the character and soul of this city. The Museum of Sydney presents a range of immersive photographic exhibitions representing some part of Australian culture, people and places. Inspirational, adventurous and eye-opening.
Justice & Police Museum - Photo Archive
Housed at Sydney Living Museums' Justice & Police Museum is the NSW Police Forensic Archive, a priceless collection of mug shots and crime scene photographs that provide exclusive insight into Sydney’s historical underbelly. ‘Special photographs’, taken by Sydney police in the 1920s, are among the tens of thousands of negatives of the forensic photography archive at the Justice & Police Museum. No documentation accompanies the images but we know that each portrait was taken in the aftermath of a crime and generally prior to the court appearance. Each portrait freezes a charged and fractious moment in an unfolding story.
The Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection represents a rich archive of the history of house and garden design and interior furnishing in NSW. Supporting Sydney Living Museums’ work of interpreting and managing places of cultural significance in NSW and provides a specialist research resource for scholars, heritage and conservation practitioners, museum professionals, designers and tertiary students. Including architectural pattern books, architectural fragments, wall and floor coverings, manufacturers’ trade catalogues and sample books, garden ornament, fittings (including curtain and blind hardware, door and window furniture), soft furnishings and trimmings, personal papers and manuscripts, pictures, photographs, books, periodicals and oral histories. The Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection hosts a number of semi-permanent and temporary displays.
Hyde Park Barracks Museum
The UNESCO World Heritage listed Hyde Park Barracks is one of the most significant convict sites in the world. A crossroads for tens of thousands of people, it played a central role in the world’s largest and longest-running system of convict transportation. During the 20th century, Hyde Park Barracks escaped demolition a number of times. In the early decades it was under threat by plans to develop Macquarie Street, but this period also saw the beginnings of the heritage preservation movement, with artists such as Sydney Ure Smith, Lionel Lindsay and Hardy Wilson picturing the barracks and other heritage buildings in their works and speaking openly about the need to preserve them. By the 1940s the Royal Australian Historical Society and the National Trust demanded the barracks be converted into a museum. It was not until 1975 that extensive conservation works began, and the main building was restored to its original appearance.
Current and upcoming exhibitions
- Underworld: Mugshots from the Roaring Twenties
- Alphabetical Sydney: Creative Lab
- Modern Baroque
- Interior design training in Sydney in the 1940s
- Marion Mahony Griffin Presentation Silk
- Rouse Hill House & Farm in LEGO® Bricks
- Notorious Criminals: A Snapshot of Sinister Sydney
- Breakers: the dying art of safebreaking
- Female Immigration Depot 1848 – 1886
- Edge of the trees
- First fleet ships
- Sydney Visionaries
- Gadigal Place
- Convict Sydney