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Macleay Museum
Macleay Museum.jpg
Edgeworth David Building that houses the Macleay Museum
Former name Museum of Antiquities
Established 1887 (1887)
Location Science Road, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, New South Wales, Australia
Type Natural history museum
  • Colonial/Australian entomology
  • Colonial/Australian ethnography
  • Scientific instruments and apparatus
  • Colonial/Australian historic photographs
Collection size 79,000+
  • Alexander Macleay
  • William Sharp Macleay
  • William John Macleay
Architect George Allen Mansfield
Owner The University of Sydney
Invalid designation
Official name Macleay Museum; Macleay Museum Building, University of Sydney Including Interior
Type Local government heritage (built)
Criteria a., c., d., e., f.
Designated 14 December 2012
Reference no. I79
Type Education
Category University

The Macleay Museum at The University of Sydney, is a natural history museum located on the University's Camperdown campus, in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The Macleay Museum gallery is now closed to the public in preparation for the opening of the new Chau Chak Wing Museum, scheduled for completion in late 2020.

The Macleay Museum was added to the City of Sydney local government heritage list on 14 December 2012.


The building in which the museum is housed was built off Science Lane within the Camperdown campus in 1887. The collections of the Macleay Museum are based largely on the efforts and acquisitions of the Macleay family, one of the pre-eminent families in colonial Sydney including Alexander Macleay, William Sharp Macleay and William John Macleay. The zoologist and collector George Masters served as curator until 1912.


The strengths of the collection lie in entomology, ethnography, scientific instruments, and historic photographs. Many of the biological specimens in the collection represent rare or extinct species, while some of the specimens have historic and cultural value as they were collected by explorers like Charles Darwin and Nicholas Miklouho-Maclay.

The George Masters Exhibition Space of the museum was devoted to temporary exhibitions. Overall, the museum houses one of the most important natural history and ethnography collections in Australia, surpassed in Sydney only by the Australian Museum.


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