Museums & art collections

We are a hub of cultural activities, many of which are open to the public at no charge.

Early philanthropists and collectors donated artefacts, rare books, paintings and other memorabilia to the University of Sydney. These holdings have now grown to represent a significant part of Australia's cultural heritage.

You can see some of the University's historical, ethnographic and artistic treasures in our museums and galleries. These include the largest collection of antiquities in the Southern Hemisphere and offer an extensive events program open to the public.

The museums and art gallery are open to visitors from 10.30am to 4.30pm Monday - Friday, 12.00pm - 4.00pm first Saturday of the month.

  • The Macleay Museum
    The Macleay Museum had its origins in the collection of insects begun by Alexander Macleay in the late eighteenth century. It has developed into an extraordinary collection of natural history specimens, ethnographic artifacts, scientific instruments and historic photographs.
  • The Nicholson Museum
    The Nicholson Museum contains the largest and most prestigious collection of antiquities in Australia. It is also the country's oldest university museum, and features masterpieces of ancient art and objects of daily life from Egypt, the Middle East, Greece, Rome, Cyprus and Mesopatamia.
  • The Rare Book and Special Collections Library
    The University's Rare Book Library holds 185,000 books and manuscripts which are rare, valuable or fragile, including eighty medieval manuscripts, works by Galileo, Halley and Copernicus and an extensive collection of Australiana. Opening hours are 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday.