Sir Charles Nicholson

Official portrait of Sir Charles Nicholson, 1859. From the University Art Collections UA1860.1

The antiquities collection of the Nicholson Museum was founded in 1860 by Sir Charles Nicholson (Chancellor 1854-62), with a significant donation from his private collection of artefacts and curiosities from Egypt, Europe and the Middle East.

Since then, the collection has expanded through ambitious acquisition programs of our historic curators, generous private donations and bequests, and the sponsorship of major archaeological excavations led by Dame Kathleen Kenyon, Sir Flinders Petrie, and Professor James Stewart to name but a few.

The Nicholson Museum has proudly supported excavation and research throughout Europe and the Middle East, and the University of Sydney’s staff and students have participated first hand in archaeological discoveries that made news headlines worldwide and that changed the very nature of archaeological investigation.

Today the Museum is home to the largest collection of antiquities in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere. The collections include objects of artistic and archaeological significance from the ancient cultures of Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Italy and the Near East, from the Neolithic through to the medieval period.