John Pearson

A long-time patron of culture and heritage, Sydney Living Museums stalwart John Pearson has spent much of his time chairing, advising and volunteering for cultural institutions. John’s passion for arts, heritage and history makes him the perfect SLM supporter.

Why did you decide to become involved with SLM?

I have a long-term connection with SLM starting back in the 1970s with the Friends of Elizabeth Bay House. Also, a family friend, Helen Halse-Rogers, was on the original Historic Houses Trust of NSW board and encouraged my interest in heritage and the SLM [formerly Historic Houses Trust of NSW] portfolio. The properties in the portfolio are significant and need to be enjoyed and experienced. SLM offers me a wealth of connection, as a supporter and volunteer, to our significant domestic and key early buildings.

What’s your favourite volunteer story?

As a volunteer at Rose Seidler House in Wahroonga, I notice that people often have a strong reason to visit, as it’s a little off major transport routes or easy access from the heart of the city. Recently an English lady visited: she had just cruised in from San Francisco that morning and was flying out to the UK early the next day. She had done a Frank Lloyd Wright tour in the US and wanted to top it off with a visit to Rose Seidler House – that’s what I call a mission!

What do you enjoy about working as a volunteer on Sydney Open, SLM’s annual open buildings event?

It’s great to be involved, as you get to go behind the scenes, and it’s highly rewarding as locals connect with their city through Sydney Open and the significant buildings. You can see the visitors’ faces light up as you take them on the insider journey.

Which is your most cherished SLM house or museum and why?

Rose Seidler House, as it’s a defining building for Sydney and for Australian modernism, and of course it resulted in Harry Seidler building his career in Australia, enriching our skyline and suburbs for almost 60 years.

You have notified SLM of your generous intention to leave a bequest. Why do you think this is important?

If you have the ability to support the great work and collections of SLM you should think about it. Organisations like SLM need both public and private support to grow and deliver. Donating or leaving a bequest is a great way to make a connection to an organisation that you have a passion for.

Complete this sentence: Sydney Living Museums is …

… a connection from our colonial past through to the mid-20th century. You feel it and live it by walking through the buildings and gardens.

Man with glasses in open necked shirt and jacket.

John Pearson. Photo courtesy John Pearson.