2023 MHNSW program highlights

In 2023, Museums of History NSW will present an ambitious series of exhibitions, programs, activations and celebrations showcasing diverse perspectives, practices and points in time. Our past and present will come alive to the people of NSW, to all who call this place home, whether for 60,000 years or just a few days. Here we share a taste of the year ahead.

Cultural programming

First Nations perspectives are a strong feature of the inaugural Museums of History NSW program as we work with community and partners to recognise the contributions of First Nations people, understand their experiences of our shared history, and embrace their perspectives. In 2023, we will present a diverse cultural program that celebrates a multitude of voices and perspectives and interrogates and challenges our cultural assumptions.

The Weaving Room

Cultural experience
Museum of Sydney
3 December 2022 to 19 February 2023

The Weaving Room celebrates the history and diversity of First Nations weaving traditions in NSW. Community weaving groups from across the state will take up residence at the Museum of Sydney to share their creative expertise and knowledge. Hear from Elders and artists, learn about traditional weaving practices and techniques, and create your own piece to take home. Find out more.

Just Not Australian

Exhibition
Museum of Sydney
11 March to 4 June 2023

Just Not Australian brings together 19 Australian artists across generations and mediums to deal broadly with the origins and implications of contemporary Australian nationhood. This timely exhibition will showcase the sensibilities of larrikinism, satire and resistance to interrogate presenting and representing Australian national identity. The exhibition presents a broad exploration of race, place and belonging at this time.

The exhibition engages with the moral and ethical undertones of the loaded rejoinder ‘un-Australian’ – an increasingly pejorative phrase in our national lexicon that is instrumentalised for various political agendas.

Curated by Artspace and developed in partnership with Sydney Festival and Museums & Galleries of NSW. The exhibition is touring nationally with Museums & Galleries of NSW. The exhibition has been assisted with funding through the Australia Council for the Arts. Find out more.

Eel Festival

Cultural experience
Elizabeth Farm
12 March 2023

Discover the Aboriginal heritage of Parramatta, on Darug Country. This family-friendly event celebrates Parramatta’s namesake, the eel, and its significance to the local Burramuttagal people, who would gather in autumn to trade goods and share stories and food. Find out more.

Naabami (thou shall/will see): Barangaroo (army of me)

Artist Brenda L Croft
Museum of Sydney
22 April to 18 June 2023

Naabami (thou shall/will see): Barangaroo (army of me) honours the spirit of Cammeraygal woman Barangaroo through a series of photographic portraits of contemporary First Nations women and girls. The images reflect Barangaroo’s ongoing inspiration, cultural connectivity and connection to spirit and place.

NAIDOC Week

Cultural experience
Various sites
2–8 July 2023

Celebrate First Nations culture at our NAIDOC Week events, taking place across Darug and Gadigal Country. This year, we’ll be inviting audiences to reflect on the 2023 NAIDOC theme, For Our Elders.

Truth-telling

Talk and symposium series
Museum of Sydney
Monthly, ongoing

This monthly series presented in partnership with significant industry partners will focus on truth-telling and First Nations perspectives.

After Hours Activations

Join us after hours for a series of lively adults-only events exploring some of the more challenging and risque parts of NSW history.

Queer in Warrane

Hyde Park Barracks
22–26 February 2023

Celebrate Sydney WorldPride at the Hyde Park Barracks. The UNESCO World Heritage–listed site will be transformed with a series of queer artist activations, sharing our complex history in a contemporary way.

Over five nights, the Barracks building will be illuminated with kaleidoscopic light projections under the title Queer in Warrane. Experience the world premiere of Dylan Mooney’s artwork Still here and thriving, plus works by creative producer Jacqui North, Shine and Love that dares.

Enjoy free daytime entry all week to the Hyde Park Barracks Museum, alongside artist talks that will stimulate the senses and encourage discussion. Find out more.

After Dark at Justice & Police Museum

Justice & Police Museum
March, May, August, October 2023

Our provocative After Dark series returns to the Justice & Police Museum, inviting audiences to re-examine watershed (and often shocking) moments in Australia’s consciousness and how we’d view these today. Legal experts, investigators and those unfairly impacted by the justice system will challenge commonly held beliefs and bias, drawing a line between where we’ve been and where we could go, provided we change our thinking.

Creative Activations

We will deliver activations that push our imagination, encourage creativity, innovation and problem-solving, and explore the possibilities of play and creativity to inform our world and shape our future.

PlayScapes

Children’s activation
Museum of Sydney
17 December 2022 to 4 June 2023

PlayScapes is an immersive, interactive play space inspired by Sydney. A series of connected experiences that celebrate play will activate the Museum of Sydney forecourt, viewing cube and digital media gallery, combining bold, high-impact visuals and structures with a sprinkling of digital magic.

Developed in collaboration with Junior Major and Beastman. Find out more.

Meroogal Women’s Art Prize

Artist talk and workshop
Meroogal
25 March 2023

Museums of History NSW is proud to present an artist talk and workshop for the biennial Meroogal Women’s Art Prize, now in its 19th year. We are delighted to celebrate the achievements and creativity of women artists across NSW who were invited to create works responding to Meroogal and its sense of place. The prize pays tribute to the four generations of women from the Thorburn and Macgregor families who lived at Meroogal in Nowra for almost 100 years. In partnership with Shoalhaven Regional Gallery. Find out more.

Tic-Tac Tiles

Children’s activation
Vaucluse House
22 December 2022 to 29 January 2023

Inspired by history, this summer we will explore the power of play! Harness your imagination, be creative and problem-solve, and spin the jumbo-sized blocks to create your own decorative tile patterns.

Created by Grumpy Sailor for Museums of History NSW.

Blockbusters

Supported by the NSW Government’s Blockbuster funding, we are excited to present two major creative projects that will captivate audiences.

Murmurations

Commission: Tony Albert and Angela Tiatia
Contributors: Lille Madden and Alina Olivares-Panucci
Hyde Park Barracks
31 March to 4 June 2023

Murmurations is a public response to the unique history of the UNESCO World Heritage–listed Hyde Park Barracks as a site representing the forced migration of people.

Commissioned artists Tony Albert and Angela Tiatia have teamed up with creatives Lille Madden and Alina Olivares-Panucci to research natural connections and intertwined cultural knowledge. They will develop a collaborative artwork that brings together First Nations cultural perspectives from Australia and the Pacific. The work creatively responds to the site and provides audiences with new perspectives regarding the Barracks and its ongoing relevance today. The artwork will be delivered through digital formats including custom-built large-format screens and immersive audio and sound. Central to the installation will be a specially curated program of talks, demonstrations, workshops and performances that deepen audience engagement in the artwork and site, culminating in a community cultural festival on 28 May.

Supported by the NSW Government and the City of Sydney. Murmurations is the fourth artwork created for the Hyde Park Barracks annual art commission. Find out more.

The People’s House – Sydney Opera House at 50

Exhibition
Museum of Sydney
1 July to 12 November 2023

A large-scale exhibition about the history of Australia’s most famous building. The exhibition at the Museum of Sydney, to be drawn from the outstanding collections of the NSW Government cultural institutions, will be a key part of the Opera House’s 50th anniversary program.

In partnership with the Sydney Opera House. The People’s House is supported by the NSW Government.

Architecture and Design Programs

Celebrate Sydney’s evolving built landscape and identity with our architecture and design programs. A program of talks, tours and workshops investigate the history of our architectural and design environment.

Talks and tours

Various sites
Monthly, ongoing

Harry Seidler 100

Various sites
Special events

Throughout our Architecture & Design series in 2023 we will be marking 100 years since the birth of Harry Seidler, architect of the iconic Rose Seidler House. Join talks and tours that unpack the key themes central to Seidler’s creative practice and celebrate his incredible contribution to modern architecture and design.

Sydney Open 2023

Various sites
4–5 November 2023

Sydney Open will return in 2023 for a weekend-long celebration of architecture.

Food and Seasonal Programs

As the seasons change, so too does our series of food, house and garden-related events, showcasing our historic houses at festive and seasonal times of the year.

House and Garden series

Various sites
March, June, September 2023

This series of hands-on workshops, talks and pop-up artist residencies invites you to discover unique perspectives on Australian domestic life.

Easter at the Houses

Various sites
8–9 April 2023

Celebrate Easter traditions in Australia! Bring the family along with a picnic and enjoy Easter-themed activities.

Christmas at Vaucluse House

Vaucluse House
10 December 2023

Ring in the festive season with the family at historic Vaucluse House. Explore the property and view the spectacular Christmas tree that will grace the drawing room, resplendent with Victorian-style ornaments. Or get into the spirit of the season by taking part in Christmas-themed activities.

Installation view of Narcissus Garden by Yayoi Kusama, Vaucluse House.

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