Frequently Asked Questions


Why is the new museum required?

The new Chau Chak Wing (CCW) Museum, at approximately 8,000 square metres (gross floor area), will consolidate the current Macleay and Nicholson Museums, the University Art Gallery and associated cultural and scientific collections transforming the use of the Museum to a primary focus of object-based learning. In this way, it will play a key role in support of the University’s strategic directional focus on education and research.

The new building on the Fisher Tennis Courts site consolidates the existing collections while supporting cultural and scientific enquiry and providing a new benchmark for integrated cross-disciplinary teaching and learning through exhibitions and museum collections alongside study rooms. The CCW Museum will become the focal point for University-wide cultural outreach.

Consolidating these three exhibition spaces will provide efficiency in operational management, whilst consolidating the Collections into the Collections Education Research and Conservation Facility (from six places into one or two) will improve security. Ensuring that the artefacts/objects d’art will be now kept within purpose-built and strictly environmentally controlled areas will ensure that they are maintained for future generations to enjoy.

How does this new museum compare in size?

Most museums typically display up to approximately five per cent of their collections. Across the three current spaces, our previous museums and gallery only displayed less than one per cent of our extensive collections. This new building will provide space to display up to three per cent of our collections.

Why are you no longer repurposing the Macleay and Edgeworth-David buildings to house the Chau Chak Wing Museum?

After extensive due diligence investigations, it was discovered that the existing Macleay and Edgeworth-David buildings were not fit for purpose as a modern museum to meet stringent internal environmental controls. Further assessment of repurposing both the Macleay and Edgeworth-David buildings showed that the extent of works ended up being far more extensive and cost prohibitive than previously envisaged, and similar to constructing a new building within the old heritage façade.

Where will the new museum be built?

The CCW Museum will be built on the existing Fisher tennis courts at the entrance to the University at the corner of University Avenue and Parramatta Road - opposite the Fisher Library and Quadrangle. This site has been proposed to contain a new building on four separate University of Sydney Masterplans since the year 1915.

In this proposed location, the University will be provided with an iconic cultural asset at the forefront of other comparable cultural venues in NSW and Australia.

Will the new building cost more than the previously planned museum?

The overall cost of this new build is expected to be similar to the previously proposed re-purposing of Macleay and Edgeworth-David.

When will the museum open?

Construction of the new museum building is expected to be completed at the end of 2018 and the museum will open after the collections and exhibitions/displays have been relocated and set-up in 2019.

When will construction start?

We have started and already completed an extensive process to arrive at this design. We formally lodged our State Significant Development application in May 2017. We will now continue with design development, tendering with a view to award and commence by the end of 2017.

What will become of the Edgeworth-David and Macleay buildings?

At the moment, these buildings will continue with their current function. Some of the occupants are expected to relocate into the new LEES1 building presently under construction. These buildings will be re-purposed for other University uses in the future.

How long will the Nicholson Museum remain open and what will happen with its current space?

The Nicholson Museum will remain open to visitors until at least November 2018. The University will decide upon another appropriate reuse of this space which, before its Nicholson phase, was part of the original Fisher Library.

Will you be relocating the tennis courts currently on the site of the new museum?

The University of Sydney currently has some 24 tennis courts across Camperdown and Darlington campuses. This project proposes to reduce that number to 21. The Fisher tennis courts are not highly utilised, and as such re-purposing of this site will have minimal impact.

Why did you choose this particular location?

The site is among the most prominent at the University, opposite the Fisher Library, fronting onto both Parramatta Road and Victoria Park and in front of the Quadrangle making it an ideal site for a public museum. After review of the extremely limited sites available on Camperdown/Darlington, this site was selected as the best option due to its proximity to the Quadrangle and the 'Cultural Precinct' proposed under the CIP. This site has been proposed to contain a new building on four separate University of Sydney Masterplans since the year 1915.

Will you be re-utilising any of the original cases from the old Macleay Museum?

Yes, we will be re-utilising some of the original timber cases from the Macleay Museum and some of the existing glass cases from the Nicholson Museum. These original unique cases were purpose-built for the presentation and display of specimens and artefacts. To retain some of these unique cases and present some elements of the collection in the way they originally were is to maintain some of the historically important heritage of both museums which will be of continuing interest to current and future generations.

Does this change have an impact on the donations you've received for the museum?

No

Are your donors happy with this outcome?

Yes

How big will the new museum be?

The museum will be approximately 8,000 square metres (gross floor area) over some five levels. Three of these levels will be underground at the western end with two opening out to 'daylight' at the eastern end. The lowest level is completely underground.

This will include around 2,000 square metres of exhibition space which is approximately three times the space currently provided.

What features will the museum contain?

  • Gallery, exhibition and display spaces including a large temporary exhibition gallery space;
  • Research and study areas (object studios) for University and school students to engage in object based study and research;
  • A 130-seat flat floor auditorium;
  • Museum shop and bag storage areas
  • Café opening out to external terrace;
  • Staff offices, facilities and boardroom;
  • Collections Education Research and Conservation Facility space including conservation lab, quarantine room, collections storage, labs and workshop areas;
  • Loading dock;
  • Plant rooms.

Does this mean the University Art Gallery and Macleay Museum can remain open while the Chau Chak Wing Museum is built?

The University Art Gallery and Macleay Museum closed in November 2016 to enable staff to safely pack the artefacts and art pieces, and start planning exhibitions and programs for the new museum. The Nicholson Museum will remain open up until just before the opening of the new CCW Museum.

Are you providing additional carparking for this new museum?

The new CCW Museum is not providing any new carparks for the general public or its staff. Whilst we shall be repurposing some existing carpark spaces for new disabled car-parking near the entry, there will be no new carpark spaces provided with this development.

The roadway directly in front of the museum shall be designated for pick-up and set-down only. The University strongly supports and relies upon the use of public transport by students, staff and the general public for environmentally friendly and sustainability reasons and the triple bottom-line benefits that result from this stance. This project clearly demonstrates that support and reliance.

Does this development form part of the CIP program?

The consolidation of the museum into one location is a CIP initiative. However in this location, the new CCW Museum development sits outside of previously approved CIP envelopes and as such is subject to a separate planning approval process. It still lies generally within the context of, and remains an integral part of, creating a 'Cultural Precinct' within this geographical quadrant of the Camperdown campus.

What will be the new museum's opening hours?

Typically 10:00am to 5:00pm, 7 days a week, with one night per week on average open to 9:00pm.

How many visitors are expected to visit the museum?

120,000 visitors per annum growing to plateau at 375,000 per annum over the next 30 years. A starting average of approximately 330 visitors per day rising to an average of approximately 1,030 visitors per day.

School students will start at 12,000 per annum growing to cap at 20,000 over the next 20 years.

What will be exhibited in the museum?

The University’s museum collections are broadly diverse and unique, and a selection from this range will be exhibited.

How will the new museum contribute directly to student learning and degree courses?

Construction of the new museum will include research and study areas (object studios) to be used by both University and school students to engage in object based study and research of the museum’s collections. The exhibitions will also provide direct opportunity for on-site teaching and self-directed learning. Further it is anticipated that the new museum will contribute directly to EFTSL growth of the Masters of Art Curating and the Masters of Museums and Heritage Studies.