Rooms with a view

10 April 2017

Art lovers and University benefactors are looking forward to seeing their favourite artworks and artefacts in the new spaces being created at the University of Sydney.

Two of Sydney’s most significant arts patrons have donated $1.75 million toward the new Chau Chak Wing Museum at the University of Sydney. The museum was conceived as the result of an extraordinary gift from Chinese-Australian entrepreneur and Chairman of the Kingold Group, Dr Chau Chak Wing.

“I was very happy to contribute towards the new museum because it is something I’ve been longing to see,” says renowned architect and museum donor, Penelope Seidler AM (B Arch ’64). “The University has some wonderful things but not enough space to show them.”  

Penelope Seidler AM

Penelope Seidler AM


Another museum benefactor, Executive Director of the Nelson Meers Foundation, Samantha Meers (BA ’87 LLB ’89 MLitt ’99), is excited by the possibilities this museum will bring.

“We felt this was a wonderful opportunity to enhance the University’s reputation as a creative hub,” Meers says. “The museum will be a visual symbol of the University’s diverse contributions to Australia’s cultural heritage.”

The University will unveil the new museum in the heart of our cultural precinct in 2018. The Macleay and Nicholson museums and the Art Gallery will be housed under one roof and given much more space, allowing for greater access to precious and rarely seen artefacts.

Penelope Seidler was a student at Sydney in 1962 when artist JW Power made a bequest worth $55 million in today’s money.  

Samantha Meers and Nelson Meers AO

Samantha Meers and Nelson Meers AO


She still remembers the gift’s electrifying effect. “During my architecture studies in the late ’50s and early ’60s, Lloyd Rees taught us about art and art history, which was magnificent,” she says. “But there was not anything else in terms of art education at that time; until the Power Institute and its collection.

“I am thrilled to be associated with this museum, which will allow so many unseen works from these marvellous collections to finally be on display.”

Samantha Meers is passionate about the prospect of cultural and historical objects, such as antiquities and natural history specimens, being brought together with visual art pieces, in a single location.

“The depth, quality and diversity of the University’s collection and the need for it to be more accessible really resonated with us,” she says.  

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