History Reflected takes visitors on an unexpected journey through moments of change in NSW's history.

The exhibition profiles 25 of the most iconic, treasured and curious items from the NSW State Archives Collection alongside bold contemporary reflections from artists, writers, curators and commentators. Challenging, emotionally arresting and surprising, History Reflected invites audiences to contemplate the past, present and future and will change the way we look at history.

In the lead up to opening our History Reflected exhibition, we’re thrilled to invite you behind closed doors with a great line-up of online exclusives. 


Online curator talks

Every week, join us for a fascinating online curator talk and enjoy behind the scenes insights into the History Reflected exhibition including its items, reflections and more. You can also participate in a live Q&A.

Upcoming talk: The 1828 Census of NSW 

Join SLM historian Jane Kelso to hear some of the stories behind – and from – our first census, and gain an insight into the inhabitants of NSW in 1828.

Thursday 5 August, 4pm–4.30pm
Free online via zoom link below


Zoom details

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

Passcode: 898025

Prior to the talk, please ensure you have Zoom installed on your computer or mobile device: https://zoom.us

At the time of the talk, please click on the above Zoom link and follow the prompts.

Online talk schedule

Thursday 29 July, 4pm–4.30pm:
Insights into History Reflected with Dr Penny Stannard, Head of Curatorial

Thursday 5 August, 4pm–4.30pm
The 1828 Census of NSW with Jane Kelso

Thursday 12 August, 4pm–4.30pm
Constructing a life in the colony with Dr Jacqui Newling 

Thursday 19 August, 4pm–4.30pm 
How a key from the Rookwood Asylum came to be in the State Archives with Dr Scott Hill

Thursday 26 August, 4pm–4.30pm 
Do you see what I see? Views taken during cleansing operations, quarantine area, Sydney with Anna Cossu 

Thursday 2 September, 4pm–4.30pm 
Searching the records for Sir Charles Kingsford Smith with Dr Carlin de Montfort

Thursday 9 September, 4pm–4.30pm 
Bringing blackouts to light: poster design in World War II with Michael Lech


Sneak peek

Opening soon
Opening soon

Exhibition highlights

Select an image from the gallery below to find out more.

Meet our curators

For the first time, this exhibition brought together our entire team of curators. Assisted by archivists and conservators at NSW State Archives, each curator explored a specific item, uncovering insights into its meaning – past and present. 

  • Dr Penny Stannard, Head of Curatorial 

  • Anna Cossu

  • Dr Carlin De Montfort

  • Dr Jacqui Newling

  • Jane Kelso

  • Marina Grilanc

  • Mel Flyte

  • Michael Lech

  • Nerida Campbell

  • Dr Scott Hill

Related talks

A collaboration between Sydney Living Museums and State Archives.

Exhibition partners

Exhibition Partners - Quay Quarter Sydney, Grosvenor Place