Making History: The City Museum Project

Museums of History NSW (MHNSW) invited agencies on 12 January 2023 to provide a multi-disciplinary stakeholder engagement team made up of suitably qualified and experienced personnel to deliver stakeholder consultation and engagement services for the creation of Making History: The City Museum Project for Sydney’s Macquarie Street.

The stakeholder engagement services will ensure that adequate and meaningful engagement has been undertaken with stakeholders in completing the final business case for the Making History: The City Museum Project. The contract activities and outcomes will contribute significantly to the development of the New Museum, including informing and defining the museum vision and curation, and refining the proposed capital works.

MHNSW is a new entity formed by the merging of Sydney Living Museums and the State Archives Collection, established under the Museums of History NSW Act 2022. The organisation has responsibility for some of the most significant public records, archives and historic properties in NSW.

The role of MHNSW is to preserve and provide access to the state’s history, to enrich people’s lives, while ensuring the conservation of collections.

Making History: The City Museum Project proposes a campus-style museum experience across three heritage buildings and a potential additional new building located on the edge of Hyde Park and the Sydney CBD and overlooking the Domain. Set in the most intact former British-colonial civic precinct in the world, the museum campus will showcase multi-dimensional aspects of NSW’s history in one location.

Early development of the proposal

In 2016, Sydney Living Museums (now MHNSW) developed a proposal for a new campus-style history museum at the southern end of Macquarie Street East precinct (MSEP). The ‘Story of Sydney’ new museum concept would connect and enhance the experience of MHNSW’s city properties – the Hyde Park Barracks and The Mint – with new museum buildings to create a cultural precinct.

Macquarie Street East Precinct strategy

IN 2018 a masterplan strategy for Macquarie Street East (MSE) was developed which includes all publicly owned buildings between the State Library of NSW at its northern axis and the Registrar General’s Building at the southern tip (see image). This work identified that the Registrar General’s Building, with modification and adaptive reuse, is a potential site suited to MHNSW’s concept, with longer-term new-build opportunities on an adjoining site.

In 2021, MHNSW further developed the viability and value proposition of Story of Sydney concept to incorporate the Registrar General’s Building and adjacent sites as the key proposed museum location within PDNSW’s overarching Macquarie Street East Precinct Strategic Business Case.

A new history museum in the Registrar General’s building

In April 2022 the NSW Government approved the Macquarie Street East Precinct Strategic Business Case including a recommendation for a Museum of History to be developed and operated by MHNSW at the Registrar General’s Building, creating an interconnected history campus with MHNSW’s adjacent sites at the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hyde Park Barracks (HPB) and the Mint.

The new museum campus is proposed to be the cultural anchor for the Macquarie Street East Precinct master plan project and will meet the objectives of the NSW Government to create a new cultural precinct with a public realm that will attract visitors around the clock and deepen audience engagement with this landmark setting in the Macquarie Street East Precinct.

Preparation of a masterplan

MHNSW has received NSW Government funding to prepare a master plan and final business case for the proposal. The 2022 Making History: The City Museum Project has progressed the museum proposal and developed preliminary reference architecture for a Final Business case. The vision strategy for the project was completed in December 2022.

Phase 1—detailed action plan

Develop a detailed action plan to engage the following stakeholder groups:

  1. Agencies and Authorities
  2. Key Precinct Partners & Neighbours
  3. Peak Groups
  4. First Nations
  5. Community General.

Phase 2 – communication material

Preparation of high-quality communication and promotional material including written, image and graphic content in a style that communicates the compelling pitch for the project to proceed, for use in:

MHNSW presentations, PR/media, website etc and as a foundation

business case pitch descriptions,

facilitation for stakeholder engagement

Phase 3 – implementation and facilitation

Implementation of the consultation phase will be undertaken once the final business case is approved and is out of scope for this tender and will be subject to future works.

Invited agencies must provide their tenders by 30 January at 9am.