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Friday 17 January 2020

Step back 200 years with Sydney's new museum drawcard

The new Hyde Park Barracks experience aims to offer a journey through Australian history.

The UNESCO World Heritage-listed building, which dates back to 1819, reopens on February 21 after a complete refurbishment and is hoping to redefine the museum experience.

Led by ground breaking audio technology, visitors won’t just follow in the footsteps of real people who encountered the Barracks – they will re-live their experiences.

With immersive activations over three storeys, visitors will walk through history: stand where they stood and listen to their stories. 

“Audiences around the world are looking for more from their museum visits than merely seeking information,” said Adam Lindsay, the executive director of Sydney Living Museums.

Hyde Park Barracks is one of the most significant convict sites in the world. Commissioned in 1817 by Governor Lachlan Macquarie, the building was designed by convict architect Francis Greenway, and almost 100,000 people passed through its gates over 68 years during the time that it served as a convict residence, immigration depot and female asylum.

“The Barracks has been central to the many chapters of Sydney’s emergence as a diverse, multicultural city,” said Don Harwin, Minister for the Arts.

“The renewal of such an iconic heritage landmark promises a bold, new look at the interwoven, challenging and often inspiring stories of Sydney’s early history.”

At the heart of the new experience is our globally significant Archaeological Collection. More than 4000 original objects will be on display, many for the very first time.

The collection of items worn, touched and treasured by past residents is considered one of the best preserved examples of 19th-century institutional life anywhere in the world.

The renewed Hyde Park Barracks tells a significant part of Australia’s convict story and the site’s early role in immigration and institutional care. But the impact of this place on Aboriginal land, culture and communities is also acknowledged and told.

Tickets to visit the museum will cost adults $24, concession $20 and children $16.

The Historic Houses Trust of NSW, incorporating Sydney Living Museums, cares for significant historic places, buildings, landscapes and collections. It is a statutory authority of, and principally funded by, the New South Wales Government.


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