Reading the House Library

Hear from Dr Matthew Stephens, Research Librarian at the Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection, as he shares stories and treasures from some of NSW’s most intriguing book collections.

Discover fascinating insights, including how many books made up the average 19th–century house library, the most popular titles and authors of the time and how a book that once belonged to the world’s first gothic novelist came to reside in our collection. Matthew will focus on the house libraries of Elizabeth Bay House and Throsby Park, Moss Vale.

View of the sitting room, showing fireplace, mirror, table, chairs and sofa. Bookcase is in righthand corner.

Books of lost emotion: exploring our historic house libraries

The thousands of books in MHNSW’s historic houses provided entertainment, education, moral improvement and spiritual sustenance – and now offer intriguing and moving insights into the people who owned them

Talks & webinars

Vivienne Chaffer : Colour [interior design student workbook]

Phyllis Shillito and her colour curriculum 1945–1979

This event focused on the colour curriculum of pioneering Sydney-based colour designer and educator Phyllis Shillito (1895–1980) of the 1940s to the 1970s

Watercolour of a group of people landing ashore

The Extraordinary Story of Rose de Freycinet

Hear the story of Rose de Freycinet, the first woman to write an account of a global circumnavigation, with Suzanne Falkiner

A colour chart of ready-mixed paints

Historic colour in the home

The many sources in the Caroline Simpson Library that can bring colour to the homes of past, with Matthew Stephens

Children's nursery

Animals in our Houses

A Parade of Animals in Nurseries, with Michael Lech