Museum Collections

Place-based collections at our historic houses and museums

These collections bring our historic houses and museums to life. Each item with its own story yet connected to many others, they include furnishings, fittings and other items associated with particular times and events in the history of the site, and the people who lived, worked or visited there. Items from these collections are mostly on display at our houses and museums, and can be viewed there. Some can also be viewed through our online search and catalogues.

Explore the collections online

Pair of porcelain pastille burners, cira 1810

Elizabeth Bay House

Built 1835–39 by the fashionable architect John Verge for colonial secretary Alexander Macleay and his family, it’s little wonder Elizabeth Bay House brims with style. Its fine collection of furniture and furnishings reflect the tastes of Macleay and his family, who called this house home between 1839 and 1845

Modern reproduction of original Vizigapatam-ware workbox.

Elizabeth Farm

The collection of furniture and furnishings at Elizabeth Farm reflects the period when it was home to pastorialists John and Elizabeth Macarthur and family, from 1793 to 1850. It includes modern replicas, based on information in family archives and other contemporary sources

Dark and heavy metal plumb-bob with attached plaited synthetic cord, used by Max Fry during refurbishments of the Hyde Park Barracks, circa 1950s

Hyde Park Barracks

Built as a barracks for convicts, Hyde Park Barracks also went on to house thousands of orphans, assisted immigrants, aged and infirm. Its collection of over 100,000 archaeological items reveals their many stories, and forms one of the world’s most-comprehensive and best-preserved collections of 19th-century institutional life

Dice shakers confiscated from Herbert William Lees, c 1933

Justice & Police Museum

Housed within the former Water Police court and station, this museum and collection features objects relating to crime, policing and legal history, including an extensive archive of police forensic negatives created by the NSW Police Department between 1910 and 1964

Cardboard box containing flageolets with woodgrain finish

Meroogal 

Built in 1885 in the south-coast town of Nowra and home to four generations of women from the Mackenzie/Thorburn/Macgregor family, Meroogal contains an intact collection of furniture, household objects, diaries, letters, books, sheet music, photographs and clothing that represents 100 years of family and community history

Pawn chess pieces from Luna Park chess set, created by artist Peter Kingston in 2001

Museum of Sydney

This site was the home and office of the first nine governors of the colony of NSW. It houses a collection of archaeological material recovered during excavations and significant objects associated with the site’s history and the story of Sydney

Teapot, 'American Modern' design by Russel Wright, manufactured by Steubenville Pottery Company, USA, 1946-1948

Rose Seidler House

Designed for his parents by renowned architect Harry Seidler, Rose Seidler House is now home to one of the most important collections of mid 20th-century design in Australia. It includes a number of pieces commissioned for the house by Seidler himself as well as furniture from leading designers of the day, including Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen

Hat pins

Rouse Hill Estate

Home to the Rouse/Terry family from 1820 to 1978, Rouse Hill Estate features an original collection of furniture, furnishings, decorative arts, costumes, books, pictures and farming equipment from the family’s long history at the site

Ewer and washbasin with blue transfer decoration, unknown maker, England, c1820s, stoneware from Susannah Place

Susannah Place

This group of four terraces in The Rocks area of Sydney and their layers decorative finishes, wallpapers and floor coverings bear witness to the everyday work and lives of the many families living there since the 1840s

Bottle from Gold Test Kit from the Mint

The Mint

This collection reflects The Mint’s long and varied history. It includes objects and fragments recovered from archaeological excavations, items associated with former Mint employees and documents relating to the history of the site as convict hospital, mint and government offices

Upholstered footstool, maker unknown, England, circa 1850, rosewood and crimson silk damask

Vaucluse House

One of Sydney's great 19th-century harbourside estates, Vaucluse House was purchased in 1827 by lawyer and politician William Charles Wentworth. The collection includes objects owned by the Wentworth family, and those believed to have been in the house between 1827 and 1910, with additional items acquired to help present and interpret the house

Title TBC (Elizabeth Bay House 1)

Corporate Collection

Including pictures, portraits, crafts and other creative works that relate to our houses, museums and work, this collection also features contemporary artworks created in response to particular properties, events and anniversaries

Table runner or mat, maker unknown, date unknown, velvet/textile

About the Museum Collections

Place-based collections at our historic houses and museums

The Old Schoolhouse at Rouse Hill Estate

How to use the Museum Collections

Dive deep or just browse among our diverse and inspiring collections

Collection stories

Watercolour of a group of people landing ashore

Rose redacted

How Rose de Freycinet was erased from the official narrative of the 'Uranie' voyage

Onlookers seated on the monumental steps for the  Opera House’s opening ceremony. October 20th 1973.

‘The people’s house’: what’s in a name?

The ‘Sydney Opera House’, the ‘Opera House’, or simply ‘the House’ – we know it by many names. But why is this Australian icon also called ‘the people’s house’? Exhibition curator Dr Scott Hill explores the story behind a name

'Day of Mourning' Aboriginal meeting on 26 January 1938 at Australian Hall, Sydney, NSW
First Nations

Day of Mourning

January 26 has long been a day of debate and civic action. Those who celebrate may be surprised of the date’s significance in NSW as a protest to the celebrations of the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet on what was then “Anniversary Day” in NSW

A hand-coloured aquatint of views in the island of Sri Lanka

Collection insights from a guest refugee curator

From June 2022 to February 2023, our Curatorial & Research team hosted Sri Lankan born, south-west Sydney based artist Jagath Dheerasekara as a guest curator. Jagath has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions and his work is held in both institutional and private collections across Australia.