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Macleay Museum butterfly specimens


Your scientific history adventure starts here
Open to staff and students, our science museums boast Australia's largest psychology collection, over 7000 zoological specimens as well as 50,000 botanical specimens.

Our museums

Haswell Collection

Haswell Museum

The Haswell museum was established in 1890 by the first Challis Professor of Zoology William Aitcheson Haswell. The original collection forms the nucleus of today's museum which has been continuously added to by academics, researchers and staff members. Some of the original specimens are now over 100 years old. The museum collection consists of approximately 7,000 animal specimens. Most zoological phyla are represented, including Australian and exotic species from over 250 families.  

The Haswell collection is used for undergraduate teaching, and course-related specimens are displayed in the front foyer of the Macleay building (A12). The collection is available for research and outreach. For more information, contact the curator, Heather Sowden.

A dedicated team of volunteer students and staff from the School Life and Environmental Sciences and the Macleay Museum are currently preparing a database of the Haswell Museum to allow for the museum's content, scope and potential to be communicated to students, academics and the broader community. This project has been generously funded by the University of Sydney Chancellor’s Committee and is led by A/Prof Rosanne Quinnell

You can follow the progress of the digitisation project on the Project Haswell site, Twitter and Instagram accounts.


John Ray Herbarium

The John Ray Herbarium is one of the largest university herbaria in the country with approximately 50,000 specimens. It is located in the Heydon-Laurence building and is curated by Associate Professor Murray Henwood

The herbarium was created by the first professor of botany, Professor A. Lawson, in 1916. Conceived as a collection to which students and staff could refer, it is also a repository for specimens collected during various research enterprises.  
Among the holdings at the herbarium are a number of significant historical collections, including about 1500 specimens collected by R.H. Cambage (a geologist and amateur botanist) and a complete W.H. Lucas algal collection.  
The John Ray Herbarium also houses collections relating to published taxonomic and morphologic research in plant systematics and plant ecology from previous and current researchers in the school. Some examples include, Vickery and Fraser (vegetation of the Barrington Tops), W.J. Peacock (cytotaxonomy of Goodenia), B.G. Briggs (taxonomy of Ranunculus and Darwinia), Smith-White and Carter (cytotaxonomy of Brachycome), Weston (phylogeny of Persoonia and relatives), Carolin (taxonomy and phylogeny of Goodeniaceae), Carolin and Myerscough (vegetation of coastal sand masses), Larkum (ecology and physiology of algae), Allaway (Epacridaceae) and Henwood et al. (Apiales).

Artefacts in the Psychology museum

Psychology Museum

The Psychology Museum has the oldest and largest psychology collection in Australia and is held on campus at the School of Psychology. Psychology was first formally taught at Sydney from the 1880s as part of Philosophy, and from 1921 the field branched into the semi-autonomous Department of Psychology.

The museum collection comprises over a thousand early laboratory and mental testing artefacts, with the addition of documentary, photographic and audio-visual materials. The artefacts represent an enormous range of areas of interest to past psychologists. 

The academics responsible for the collection are currently undertaking an extensive review of the holdings, combining the objectives of updating the catalogue, examining long-term storage issues and maximizing accessibility. The long-term goal is to maintain and reinvigorate this unique and invaluable resource for the purposes of teaching, display and research.

The project team hope to mount a changing series of displays, based in part on historical themes that emerge as they proceed with the sorting of items, and in part on suggestions from colleagues for teaching aids for specific courses. 

Affiliated museums

Macleay Museum

The Macleay Museum holds the oldest natural history collection in Australia. Originating in the cabinets of Alexander Macleay, the collection has expanded through the networks of the Macleay family from Darwin to Raffles, and Cuba to Wagga Wagga. Learn more.

Nicholson Museum

The Nicholson Museum is Australia's oldest University museum and home to the largest collection of antiquities in the Southern Hemisphere. Learn more.

The Interactive Centre for Human Diseases

Situated on the ground floor of the Charles Perkins Centre on the Camperdown campus, this museum houses approximately 1600 pathological specimens on permanent display. Learn more.