Powerhouse museum

Address: 500 Harris Street Ultimo NSW 1238
Phone: (02) 9217 0111

Tags: education, workshops, markets, souvenirs, science, museum, interactive

The Powerhouse Museum, part of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, presents exhibitions and programs based on the ideas and technologies that have changed our world, and the stories of the people who inspire and create them. Our purpose is to enable visitors to discover and be inspired by human ingenuity.

The Powerhouse Museum is located in Darling Harbour, Sydney. Its diverse collection, built up over more than 125 years, spans history, science, technology, design, industry, decorative arts, music, transport and space exploration. The Museum has an extensive range of education services, operates a members organisation and a volunteer program.

The origins of the Museum lie in the Sydney International Exhibition held at the Garden Palace in the Domain in 1879.

In 1988 the Museum was greatly expanded when it moved to this site. As the building was previously the Ultimo Power House the Museum was renamed the Powerhouse Museum.

In addition to the Powerhouse, the Museum is responsible for Sydney Observatory, The Powerhouse Discovery Centre: collection stores at Castle Hill and the NSW Migration Heritage Centre.

The Museum is a statutory authority of, and principally funded by, the NSW State Government.

Statement of purpose

To discover and be inspired by human ingenuity

We conceive exhibitions and programs around the primary theme of ‘human ingenuity’.

We base our exhibitions and programs on the ideas and technologies that have changed our world, and the stories of the people who create and inspire them. The Museum’s unique collection informs these experiences.


From its foundation in 1879, the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences exhibited and interpreted the wonders of the Industrial Age.

As a twenty first century museum we will reinterpret the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences to engage with contemporary technologies to showcase Australian innovation in the creative industries, developments in science and ecologically sustainable technologies. These will be interpreted alongside the Museum’s rich collection, which contains the diverse narratives of our moveable heritage.


We will –

- Be an "open" Museum – open to rich engagement, to new conversations about the collection and transparent in how we work and make decisions

- Offer visitors diverse ways to interact with the museum

- Present programs and exhibitions that reflect the spirit of the times and explore new ways to engage with audiences that may challenge, involve experimentation or generate controversy

- Support new kinds of learning and knowledge creation inside and outside the Museum

- Develop a comprehensive customer service ethos throughout the Museum

- Promote an internal culture of dialogue, experimentation, transparency and individual accountability

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