New year, new us

Our year in review 2023

Museums of History NSW officially came into being on 31 December 2022, so we woke up to the new year literally ‘new’. 

While planning and preparation had been underway for several years, the new year brought with it a string of firsts and a steady flow of milestones, large and small, as we embraced our role as NSW’s newest cultural institution.

Our new Board held its first meeting on 25 January, bringing a diverse and distinguished mix of experience to the role of guiding our broad strategic direction, underpinned by a new legislative framework laid out in the Museums of History NSW Act 2022. In June, we welcomed CEO Mary Darwell (and farewelled with thanks John Vallance, who had been acting in the role). Soon after, our first strategic plan was endorsed, setting our direction for the coming year and for the development of a range of area-specific strategies across the organisation. Every team has played a role in the huge project of introducing Museums of History NSW to our established audiences and supporters, and inviting new ones to join with us in exploring, celebrating and reflecting on the history of this state and its continuing legacy.

At a glance ...

Group portrait of the new MHNSW Board, with (L-R): Sharon Veale, Professor Kirsten McKenzie, Professor John Maynard, Anton Enus, Penelope Seidler AM LFRAIA, Mary O’Kane AC (Chair, seated), Loretta Di Mento (Deputy Chair, standing) Dylan Mooney and Chris McDiven AM.

Leadership

Meet our Board and Executive team

Staff at State Records, Kingswood NSW

Strategic framework

Our first strategic plan sets out our vision, values and strategic priorities, and  a framework for a more detailed suite of strategies to guide and document our work 

Western Sydney Records Centre Open Day, 15 April 2023

Collections

We care for three internationally significant collections, together valued at over A$1 billion: the State Archives Collection, Caroline Simpson Collection and our Museum Collections

View of the exterior of Vaucluse House and fountain

Places

We care for 12 sites, each with a human history that stretches back over 60,000 years and recent layers that feature a range of historic buildings and landscapes of unique and enduring significance

Western Sydney Records Centre Open Day, 15 April 2023

Visits

We’ve hosted over 608,000 onsite visits to our museums, reading rooms, exhibitions, events and programs, thousands more to our gardens, and over 2 million online sessions

A visitor talks to a receptionist who stands behind a gold desk that says 'Welcome / Bujari gamarruwa'.

Free admissions

The NSW Government has committed to four further years of this important program

Student carrying convict bricks in the courtyard at Hyde Park Barracks

Learning

We’ve welcomed over 38,350 students and teachers to our onsite curriculum-linked programs, and more than 11,000 have joined online from across the state

Couple enjoying the courtyard, Vaucluse House

Volunteers & supporters

Our volunteers have given more than 16,700 hours of their time and energy to our programs and activities, while our valued donors continue to support our work through annual giving, grants and gifts in kind

Members photoshoot at the Museum of Sydney

On social

We have close to 160,000 followers across our social media channels

Girl with superimposed illustration of aeroplane and clouds

On tour

Our national and international touring exhibitions have attracted over 87,000 visits

Dining table at the Beerenberg Product Launch, Vaucluse House

Retail & venue hire

Our retail and venue hire activities performed strongly, achieving two-thirds of their 2023–24 revenue targets in the first six months

WSRC Volunteer shoot

Government services

Our records management, storage and digitisation services provide support and advice to government agencies across NSW and raise a significant proportion of our income

News highlights from 2023

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Latest News

Life-changing encounters with the past

Visits from teachers who first visited our sites as children themselves have become increasingly common, revealing the lifelong impact of place-based learning

Gulwanyang Moran crouching above ceremonial smoking gum leaves
Latest News

Improving First Nations community access to archives

We acknowledge the incredible work local communities are doing to reclaim and revitalise Indigenous languages across NSW

Wentworth Mausoleum perimeter fence
Latest News

Renewed splendour for the Wentworth Mausoleum

The conservation works to the perimeter fence of the historic Wentworth Mausoleum have been successfully completed

Exhibitions & events

It’s been wonderful to see visitors returning in numbers to our onsite exhibitions, events and programs, as well as taking up an expanding range of opportunities to experience them online ...

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