Australian Museum Sydney is the oldest museum in Australia,with an international reputation in the fields of natural history and anthropology. It was first conceived and developed along the contemporary European model of an encyclopaedic warehouse of cultural and natural history and features collections of vertebrate and invertebrate zoology, as well as mineralogy, palaeontology and anthropology. Apart from exhibitions, the museum is also involved in Indigenous studies research and community programs. In the museum’s early years, collecting was its main priority, and specimens were commonly traded with British and other European institutions. The scientific stature of the museum was established under the curatorship of Gerard Krefft, himself a published scientist.
The museum is located at the corner of William Street and College Street, Sydney, and was originally known as the Colonial Museum or Sydney Museum. The museum was renamed in June 1836 by a sub-committee meeting, when it was resolved during an argument that it should be renamed the “Australian Museum”.Its current CEO and Executive Director is Kim McKay AO.
The building has evolved to encompass a range of different architectural styles and when its building expanded, it was often in conjunction with an expansion of the collections.The first location of the museum in 1827 was probably a room in the offices of the Colonial Secretary, although over the following thirty years it had several other locations in Sydney, until it moved into its current home in 1849. This is a handsome building of Sydney sandstone on the corner of College and Park Streets, opposite Hyde Park, designed by the New South Wales Colonial Architect James Barnet, and it was first opened to the public in May 1857.For 30 years the museum was located in various government buildings until 1844 when the Colonial Architect, Mortimer Lewis, oversaw the construction of the sandstone building in the Greek Revival Style. It was opened to the public in May 1857 where it currently stands on the corner of College and Park Streets, opposite Hyde Park.