Western Sydney becomes a cultural powerhouse

Published: 28 Apr 2018

Powerhouse Museum will completely relocate to stunning new premises in Parramatta and accommodate Australia’s largest and most advanced planetarium, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced today.

The new and expanded world-class Powerhouse Museum will form the centrepiece of a new arts and cultural precinct on the banks of the Parramatta River, including a modernised Riverside Theatres complex, cafes, bars and public spaces.

Relocating Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta - the geographic heart of Sydney - ensures families have world-class cultural facilities on their doorstep.

“It will be bigger and better than anything NSW has ever seen and will rival global cultural icons such as the London Science Museum and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“It is so important that young people are excited and inspired by science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics because the jobs of tomorrow will rely heavily on these disciplines.

“This is a clear demonstration of the NSW Government’s commitment to Western Sydney.”

The new Powerhouse Museum will be the largest museum in NSW and its relocation to Parramatta marks the first time one of NSW’s five major cultural institutions will be entirely located in Western Sydney.

Other key features of the new Powerhouse Museum include 18,000 square metres of exhibition and public spaces - up from 15,708 square metres in Ultimo - and dedicated play areas and education labs devoted to science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

The new Powerhouse Museum will feature state-of-the-art exhibition halls to host major international interactive exhibitions and art displays. The domed planetarium will be 30 metres wide and feature ultra-high resolution 3D video and audio.

Early works on the new museum will begin in 2019 and the venue is expected to open to visitors in 2023.

The net cost to Government for the relocation will be $645 million.

Minister for the Arts, Don Harwin said today’s announcement is the culmination of almost three years of planning.

“We’ve heard loud and clear that people want a major cultural institution in Western Sydney. The new Powerhouse Museum will be a spectacular drawcard for families, industry and educational institutions,” he said.

The Government plans to retain cultural spaces at Ultimo, including plans for a new design and fashion museum and a Broadway-style lyric theatre.

“We want to ensure that Ultimo remains a destination for arts and culture as part of a vibrant and engaging precinct,” Mr Harwin said.

President of the MAAS Trust Professor Barney Glover said: “This unprecedented investment means people can experience even more of the globally-renowned collection of Australia’s first and only applied arts and science museum.”

The existing Powerhouse Museum will stay open for business before relocation, with an exciting array of international exhibitions and programs scheduled in the coming months.

The MAAS Museums Discovery Centre at Castle Hill will be expanded and upgraded to provide new state-of-the-art labs, workshops and facilities to support conservation and collections management, and will be built to exacting international standards for temperature and humidity control.

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