Hi Members!
Welcome to an area designed with you in mind. 

Below you’ll find a changing selection of highlights from our collection and past exhibitions, plus fascinating stories and hands-on activities for your next crafternoon session.

We hope you will check in regularly to gain inspiration and discover something new.


  • Member magazine

    Unlocked is filled with great articles and posted straight to your door. Check out a selection of past issues now available online.

  • Kids activities

    Get creative with our activities and crafts inspired by our museums and stories. Find printouts, art projects and more.

  • Discover SLM

    Your weekly summary of what's new, including in the kitchen and the garden. Settle in for some good long reads.


Collection highlights

From the flamboyant to the functional, our diverse collections help tell the story of the people of NSW and beyond.
  • Bessie Rouse’s brooch

    This romantic gold bar brooch, featuring pearl-studded  stars and a pearl-studded crescent moon, was a gift from Edwin Stephen Rouse (1849-1931) to his fashionable wife Eliza Ann ‘Bessie’ Rouse (1843-1924) for Christmas 1886. Edwin Stephen bought the brooch on Christmas Eve 1886 from Hardy Brothers, goldsmiths and jewellers of Hunter Street, Sydney. In Victorian times seed pearls could symbolise tears when used in mourning jewellery but pearls could also be used to convey a personal message celebrating love.  Find out more.

  • Bessie Rouse’s scrap album

    The creation of scrap albums was a commonplace feminine activity in genteel households in the Victorian age. Bessie Rouse (1843-1924), used scrap albums to display mementos of friendship and familial love. She created a number of albums during her lifetime, including one assembled in the 1880s, filled mostly with Christmas and New Year greeting cards. On the first page of the album is a chromolithographic New Year’s card, published by the Sydney printing firm Turner & Henderson in December 1880. The card depicts a spray of Australian wildflowers, each flower identified botanically. Find out more.


Watch & listen


Exhibition highlights

Created to inspire and inform, our exhibitions and displays have ranged across social history, design, art and architecture. We’ve cherry-picked a few of our favourites for you to explore.

A Thousand Words

‘A picture tells a thousand words.’ This adage is the inspiration for an innovative exhibition, in which the public becomes the curator. A Thousand Words presents 100 of the most compelling photographic images from the rich collections of Sydney Living Museums and the State Archives and Records Authority of NSW, created between the 1880s and the 1980s. Discover more.

The Artist & the Botanical Collector: The lost works of Lovegrove & Bäuerlen

The exhibition tells the story of a collaboration between amateur artist Gertrude Lovegrove (1859-1961) and botanical collector William Bäuerlen (1840-1917) to produce a multi-part publication The wild flowers of New South Wales.  Part 1 was published in a small print run in January 1891 but no other parts followed. In 2013 Sydney Living Museums acquired a collection of Lovegrove’s original watercolours for the publication and in the process uncovered a network of Shoalhaven connections between both the artist and the collector and the McKenzie and Thorburn families associated with SLM’s house museum Meroogal in Nowra. Discover more.

Work in Hand

In England in the 18th century the ability to write was a skill associated with the social elite or with young men trained as clerks for careers in commerce. Children of the working classes, on the other hand, might attend small village ‘dame schools’ or charity schools where writing was taught only when reading had been mastered – and often not at all.  The elite had access to private tutors while clerks studied with a writing master, learning to write from copybooks by tracing and copying letters and writing aphorisms. Discover more.


Meet the team

Behind each museum, garden, exhibition and event stands a dedicated and talented team. Meet some of these remarkable people below.
  • Edward Washington, Program Producer

    Ed is part of the learning team, which provides curriculum-based programs to more than 60,000 students and teachers every year. He is passionate about using objects, places and personal stories to engage students in history and archaeology. Read more.

  • Jacqui Newling, Assistant Curator

    Jacqui specialises in place-based social history and heritage, bringing meaningful stories from our past to contemporary audiences through various forms of media, from exhibitions to interactive opportunities for visitors in our museums. Read on.

  • Megan Martin, Head, Collections & Access

    Megan has a particular interest in the working of the historical imagination, in teasing out the meanings of objects in museums collections and in crafting the stories that can be recovered/discovered through a close reading of those items of material culture. Read on.


Contact us

Membership Office

T +61 2 8072 4515