About the Chau Chak Wing Museum

Shield from the Macleay collections (ETH.1122)

Bigan (shield), Girramay language speakers, c.1885, Herbert River, Queensland, Macleay Museum

The Chau Chak Wing Museum is named after Dr Chau Chak Wing, the Chinese-Australian businessman and philanthropist whose generous donation has enabled the University of Sydney to embark on this ambitious project to provide a centralised home for the rich cultural, historic, scientific and artistic collections held on campus.

The Chau Chak Wing Museum will be at the centre of a new precinct for cultural and scientific engagement at the symbolic heart of the campus, with direct access to major Sydney transportation routes. The museum will house the collections of the Macleay Museum, Nicholson Museum and University Art Gallery, as well as other cultural highlights from the University's collections.

The new facilities will enhance the University's ability to use its collections for teaching and academic research, and to enable public access and engagement with the collections, many never publicly-displayed before, through innovative and dynamic exhibitions. Visitors to the museum will be able to see far more of the collections than they can at present.

When the University was founded, Sir Charles Nicholson provided Sydney with a suite of classical antiquities and fine arts from which to base teaching; the first purpose-built university museum in the southern hemisphere. As the University strengthened its collections, however, its museum spaces received lesser priority. At last, the Chau Chak Wing Museum will give these important collections the space to shine.

The Chau Chak Wing Museum will embrace the aspirations and needs of teachers, students, researchers and wider communities in Sydney, across Australia and internationally in a multidisciplinary and visionary initiative. In line with international best-practice standards, the museum will provide temporary exhibition galleries alongside permanent galleries; while specialized study centres will enable teaching with material culture and scientific specimens designed to match the University’s research and teaching interests.


The Chau Chak Wing Museum will inspire creativity, visual literacy and lateral thinking, and will showcase the rich cultural heritage of the University as well as its vision for the future. The museum is due to open in a landmark new building at the most prominent entry point to the University in 2019 with free admission.

Keep up to date with the progress of the development of the new museum complex over the coming months via our news page or visit our FAQs page.

Russel Drysdale,

Russel Drysdale, 'Man reading newspaper', 1941, oil on canvas, University Art collection

Coffin of Padiashaikhet, from the Nicholson collections (NMR.28)

Coffin of Padiashaikhet, 725-700 BC, Thebes, Egypt, Nicholson Museum