What is the New Museum in Western Sydney?

The NSW Government is committed to establishing the flagship campus of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Western Sydney. The museum will grow and promote an accessible and diverse arts and cultural environment, and will be on the cutting edge of science and technology. To deliver the best possible Museum, a business case has been established to ensure all possible options are investigated, tested and analysed.

Is the Powerhouse Museum closed?

The Powerhouse Museum remains open, and will continue to operate in Ultimo for many years yet. World premiere exhibitions and vibrant programming is planned through until early 2020.

Has the Powerhouse Museum Ultimo site already been sold?

No. The Ultimo site is in the ownership of the MAAS Trustees. As part of the planning process for the New Museum, Government Property NSW has been commissioned by the NSW Government to review how the Ultimo site could be used in future. This information is considered within the context of the extended business case.

What is a business case?

Large scale investment projects such as this are subject to an assurance and business case process, to enable the NSW Government to thoroughly investigate the costs and benefits of all options. Community consultation is an important part of helping to inform the development of this business case.

Does the business case mean the NSW Government can back down on the decision to establish a New Museum in Western Sydney?

No. The NSW Government remains committed to growing the arts and cultural sector in Western Sydney and across the state – this includes establishing a world class institution in Sydney’s Central City – Parramatta.

As is standard with a major cultural infrastructure project, the planning process will investigate several options for the NSW Government’s consideration, including the establishment of an iconic museum for Western Sydney, located in Parramatta.

In April 2017, the Minister for the Arts Don Harwin announced that the development of the final business case had been extended to allow consideration of additional options for the arts and cultural institution in Western Sydney, as well as an Arts and Cultural Precinct that considers  keeping some MAAS presence at the current Ultimo site.

When are we expecting a decision?

The extended business case is due for completion in the second half of 2017.

Where will the New Museum be located?

The riverbank site on the Parramatta River is the preferred location for Western Sydney’s iconic New Museum. The NSW Government is current in conversations with the City of Parramatta Council to acquire the site. It will establish a vibrant cultural hub in Parramatta, with connections throughout Western Sydney and beyond.

Is there a risk of flooding at the preferred location on the banks of the Parramatta River?

Engineering studies have been undertaken as part of the planning process, to address the potential for flooding on the site. The extended business case will be informed by the study findings, and appropriate design mitigation measures will be put in place to ensure the sustainability of the New Museum.

When will the New Museum in Western Sydney be built?

The New Museum in Western Sydney is projected to open in 2022. In the meantime, immerse yourself in MAAS dynamic and vibrant arts and cultural experiences across NSW – come and enjoy the best NSW has to offer. Visit what’s on Visit what’s on.

What is the future of the Ultimo site?

The NSW Government, though the development of the extended business case, is investigating all options, including the potential for an arts and cultural space in Ultimo that includes consideration of keeping some MAAS presence at the current Powerhouse Museum site.

While planning progresses, it is ‘business as usual’ at the three MAAS venues, the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney Observatory and the Museums Discovery Centre and we invite all members of the community to visit us. Find out what’s on.

What consultation will take place?

To truly reflect the vibrancy and diversity of Western Sydney, the NSW Government wants to ensure the New Museum is designed with input from the people of Western Sydney and beyond.

It’s also important the community is involved in the conversation about the potential for an arts and cultural space that includes consideration of some MAAS presence at the current Ultimo site.

Building on past consultation, there will be a range of opportunities across Western Sydney and Sydney’s CBD over the coming months to provide input into the vision for the New Museum at Parramatta and the future for the Ultimo site.

Stakeholders will be consulted from across education, culture, industry, government and wider community.

You can have your say in the following ways:

  • Completing an online survey
  • Attending public meetings
  • Chatting to us at pop ups in shopping precincts and cultural centres

Feedback from consultation will be considered in the development of the extended business case.

To keep up to date with all our consultation activities, register your interest.

How much will the New Museum cost?

The extended business case will explore a range of opportunities to fund the establishment of a new museum in Western Sydney. Funding for a new museum must consider both upfront costs for its delivery, but also recurrent costs to support its ongoing operation.

A detailed extended business case will determine the cost of the building and operating a new iconic institution for Western Sydney, as well as give consideration to retaining a MAAS presence in Ultimo

Arts and culture are key contributors to our economy, with the ABS estimating key cultural and arts sectors contributing over $4.5 billion annually to the NSW economy. A diverse arts and cultural sector is essential for a vibrant and strong economy, and makes NSW an even better place to live, work and visit.

What are the benefits for the community? What are the benefits for the arts and cultural sector?

A diverse arts and cultural environment with facilities that everybody can enjoy is critical for a vibrant and creative NSW. It will contribute to our understanding of ourselves in the world, provide opportunities for learning, boost the growth of our creative industries and help to develop new audiences.

It is important that all communities across NSW have access to participate in and enjoy the State’s dynamic and vibrant arts and cultural sector.

The New Museum in Western Sydney could deliver world-class opportunities for education and research, alongside exhibition space, and space for social and digital interaction and exchange.

The new museum will boost economic growth in the region, creating new jobs and partnership opportunities.

How will you ensure the ongoing safe care of the MAAS collection?

The Museum takes its responsibility regarding the collection and its care very seriously. We have extensive experience transporting collection objects, basically on a daily basis, and we have some of the country’s most senior and talented registrars and conservators on staff.

Detailed planning will be undertaken to ensure that all collection objects required to be moved are safely and securely transported.

The Museum first moved from The Agricultural Hall in the Botanic Gardens to Harris Street in 1893 and from there to the Powerhouse Museum in two stages during the 1980s with the second and final stage of the Museum being opened on 10 May 1988. Prior to 1981 MAAS maintained a branch museum system so items were regularly moved between sites. Leased off-site storage was also used from 1951 with the first facility being a former wool store building at Alexandria. Our main storage facility is now based in Castle Hill, and we regularly move the collection between these sites.

What happens to your Castle Hill site?

The new Museums Discovery Centre re-opened in September 2016. Newly expanded, this facility is shared with the Australian Museum and Sydney Living Museums and provides both collection care and storage as well as visible stores and public programs. We will continue to exhibit our collection across Sydney Observatory, Museums Discovery Centre and Powerhouse Museum.

What will the New Museum be called?

There is no final decision on the name for the museum in Parramatta and we are using the name New Museum as a working title.

How is the NSW Government investing in arts and culture in Western Sydney?

The NSW Government is committed to improving the investment in arts and culture in both Western Sydney and regional NSW.

In 2015, the NSW Government committed $30 million over four years to grow the arts and cultural sector in Western Sydney – this commitment will help to promote a diverse, accessible and inclusive arts and cultural environment for the people of NSW.

The establishment of a new museum in Western Sydney is testament to the NSW Government’s commitment to accelerating our investment and improvement in the arts and cultural sector beyond Sydney’s inner city.