Sound Heritage Project

Can we encourage your support for this exceptional, unique and visionary project?

The Sydney Living Museums Sound Heritage project seeks to conserve, document, digitise and interpret our historic sheet music collection, bringing it to life for local, national and international audiences.

An estimated 3,000 pieces of printed and hand-copied sheet music, are held in the SLM collection across the houses and museums and the Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection.

This irreplaceable collection includes:

  • publications dating from the late 18th century
  • Australia’s earliest surviving settler composition (c1830)
  • Australia’s earliest known collection of sheet music bound in Sydney (c1840)
  • previously unknown surviving examples of Australian and British compositions

Over a two-year period, SLM plans to conserve, document, digitise and selectively record 2000 key pieces from the collection, to share with the public.  We invite you to consider supporting this visionary project which requires investment of $400,000k.

More about music at SLM

The conservation of our musical heritage has been severely under-resourced and sadly overlooked for so long. It takes an organisation with the vision of Sydney Living Museums to undertake such a terrific and important task, and I ask you all to support it.

Edward Simpson
Sydney Living Museums supporter


Bel Canto performance at Elizabeth Bay House. Photo © David Swift for Sydney Living Museums

What funding do we need?

$30,000 funding will assist with the research and dating of 2000 key pieces of sheet music.

$40,000 funding will provide significant funds for conservation.

$40,000 funding will achieve digitisation of 2000 sheets, after conservation.

$50,000 funding will enable interpretation of the music related to the houses.

$75,000 funding will contribute to the development of a music micro site, providing access to music scholars, students and the public worldwide, enabling greater access and use of the material

$75,000 funding will assist us to bring Jane Austen’s score and manuscripts to Australia forming an integral part of the planned SLM exhibition ‘Songs of Home & Distant Isles (working title), opening in August 2019.  Prof. Janice Brooks a cultural historian of music and world expert on Jane Austen’s rich domestic music-making, will be in Australia for the exhibition.

$90,000 funding would enable the huge task of cataloguing the collection.  This is a significant piece of work, which will result in improved  knowledge and more access for future generations of scholars, historians, musicians and performers.

Donate now

Contact us

We are happy to discuss your ideas, feedback and thoughts on fundraising campaigns. If you would like to have a confidential discussion, please contact:

Judy  Tanna
Head of Development & Fundraising
M: 0408 232 962

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