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$5 million and a new location for the Chau Chak Wing Museum

16 November 2016
Major gallery to be named after The Ian Potter Foundation.

The University of Sydney today announced a further donation of $5 million to help build its new Chau Chak Wing Museum, from The Ian Potter Foundation. 

Sgraffito bowl from the time of the Crusades

A sgraffito bowl from the time of the Crusades, from the Nicholson Collection.

The donation will go towards construction of the new museum. A major gallery within the museum will be named after The Ian Potter Foundation, a philanthropic foundation created by the late Sir Ian Potter, a prominent businessman and philanthropist who graduated from the University in 1928 with a Bachelor of Economics (Honours).

“We’re delighted and grateful to benefit from the generosity of the late Sir Ian Potter, an alumnus who helped lay the foundations for Australia’s growing culture of corporate philanthropy,” said the University’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal Michael Spence.

“Sir Ian’s family has a long association with the University. His wife Lady Potter’s grandfather, Sir Thomas Peter Anderson Stuart, founded the Sydney Medical School in the late 19th century and was pivotal to its early success.”

“The Ian Potter Foundation is pleased to be donating to the funding of the building of the Chau Chak Wing Museum which will be an iconic contemporary museum providing access to one of Australia’s largest collections of antiquities.  This new museum is an outstanding project which will provide enhanced teaching and research facilities and also provide benefits to the general community,” said Charles Goode, Chairman of The Ian Potter Foundation.

A taxidermied Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine

This thylacine (Tasmanian tiger) is an iconic specimen in the Macleay Collection. 

The donation builds on last year’s $15 million donation to the museum by Dr Chau Chak Wing, and donations earlier this year by the Nelson Meers Foundation ($1 million) and Penelope Seidler ($750,000).

The University also announced a change of location for the museum, which will now be constructed as a new building near the corner of Parramatta Road and University Avenue. The previously proposed adaptive re-use of the Macleay and Edgeworth David buildings will not go ahead.

The decision to change the location was made after shortcomings in the fabric of the Macleay and Edgeworth David buildings were identified by the University. Converting these buildings into a 21st century museum to house the University’s significant and valuable collections is no longer viable.

“This is a significant change to the previous plan but it places the museum at the most prominent entry point to the University and better allows us to conserve and display our extensive collections,” said the University’s Director of Museums and Cultural Engagement David Ellis.

The Chau Chak Wing Museum is due for completion in late 2018.

Jocelyn Prasad

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