Powerhouse Ultimo will remain open after government backflip


The Powerhouse Museum is calling for community feedback to help determine the future of its existing facility at Ultimo.

In July 2020, after years of resistance, the NSW government announced the existing Powerhouse Museum would be retained, in addition to a new museum which will be built in Parramatta.

The Powerhouse Museum and Create NSW are jointly developing a business case for the Ultimo facility.

“The Museum’s renewal gives us the opportunity to ask the public what they want to see from a modern museum experience, how we might reimagine our remarkable collection for decades to come, what role technology could play in the visitor experience, and how the Museum will remain a thriving institution within the Ultimo precinct,” said Lisa Havilah, chief executive of Powerhouse Museum.

The state heritage listed Powerhouse dates back to 1899 and was the original electricity generating station which supplied the tram network of Sydney. It was decommissioned in 1963 as the city’s tram network phased out.

The transformation of the former Powerhouse building into a cultural facility, designed by NSW Government Architect Ian Thompson, received the state’s highest honour for public architecture, the Sulman Medal, in 1988.

“Powerhouse Ultimo has a proud history of displaying our world-renowned Collection, and with the NSW Government’s recent decision this will continue to be the case for years to come,” said Barney Glover, president of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences trust.

“The Trust holds the firm belief that public institutions have a responsibility to evolve to meet the ever-changing dynamic of the communities they represent.”

Submissions on the Powerhouse Ultimo Renewal can be made on the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences website.

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