The Chau Chak Wing Museum is free to visit!
The purpose-built space, designed by Sydney-based design studio Johnson Pilton Walker, now houses three distinct and disparate collections that, until now, were showcased separately and in no way near their entirety.
The exhibition space, having now tripled to 2000-square-metres, has allowed the University of Sydney to display a huge slice of their 400,000-plus strong collection of items.
So much so that on opening day there were 2252 objects that had never before been exhibited and another 70% that had been kept sealed and safely stored for the past two decades. There are even four Australian shark specimens that haven’t been on display since the 1930s.
What will you find at the Chau Chak Wing Museum?
According to the museum, you will find the unexpected: art, science, history and ancient cultures under the one roof.
The intent behind housing the three collections in the one museum — The Nicholson Collection, The Macleay Collections, and The University Art Collection pieced together over 150 years — is to present the artefacts in new ways.
For example, the link between Cubism and mathematics, and the rise of photographic studios and our relationship with the ocean are just two of the eighteen exhibitions on display that would have been near impossible beforehand.
David Ellis, the museum director, says that ”it’s essential for a university museum to explore the myriad ways we look at objects. A Russell Drysdale oil painting isn’t just about Australian art history. It also gives science and agriculture students an opportunity to consider the use of land, and how perceptions of land have changed.”
However, possibly the most exciting news coming out of the Chau Chak Wing Museum is the dedicated Mummy room. The remains of the four mummies will now reside side-by-side each other as well as reveal details learnt through the museum’s Mummy Project.
Elsewhere in the museum, the Ian Potter gallery will routinely display art from the Yolŋu communities of eastern Arnhem land while peppered throughout the museum will be other displays curated by Indigenous ‘Ambassadors’ telling the stories of their communities from across Australia.
Although entry is free, during current Covid restrictions, visitors must book ahead. Do so here.