The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) was founded in 1880 as the Technological, Industrial and Sanitary Museum following the highly-successful Sydney International Exhibition of 1879.
It became a separate government agency in 1945 through the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences Act 1945 (NSW). The Act identified two main collecting areas:
objects demonstrating the ‘industrial advance of civilisation’ and
those promoting ‘craftsmanship and artistic taste’.
Since then the collection development policy has been reviewed a number of times so that the collecting focus now relates to the following areas: technologies; health and medicine; physical sciences; architecture and the built environment; design and decorative arts; fashion; and contemporary culture.
The museum is a publicly funded institution governed by the Act and a board of Trustees. It is a statutory body in the New South Wales Department of Justice, responsible to the Minister for the Arts.
contexto cultural e geográfico
As a state-based institution, the museum has a focus on the State of New South Wales.
Mandatos/Fontes de autoridade
Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences Act 1945 (NSW)
The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences operates three sites:
the Powerhouse Museum (opened 1988),
Sydney Observatory (transferred 1982), and
the Museums Discovery Centre in Castle Hill (acquired 1947) now operated cooperatively with the Australian Museum and Sydney Living Museums.
The office of the Archivist is located at the Powerhouse Museum. The Museum Archives is part of Strategic Collections, which reports to the Director of Curatorial, Collections and Exhibitions.
The Archivist is located in the Harwood Building, adjacent to the Powerhouse Museum. There is a dedicated Research Room next to the Archivist’s office. The Museum’s Research Library as well as the Photo Library are in the immediate vicinity.
Institutional archives dating from 1880 include correspondence files, minute books, stockbooks, papers of Directors and scientific staff, exhibition records, audiovisual productions, photographs, oral history tapes, museum publications, etc.
Collected archives include:
the papers of aeronautics pioneer Lawrence Hargrave; aviators Lores Bonney and C Arthur Butler;
contemporary Australian designers including Gordon Andrews, Douglas Annand, Richard Beck, Dahl & Geoffrey Collings, Max Forbes, Gerard Herbst, Linda Jackson, Richard Haughton James, Jenny Kee, Margaret Lord, Mercedes Australian Fashion Week, Marc Newson, Dorothy & Rhoda Wager, Fred Ward, Mary White, Ken Done and Derek Wrigley;
records of manufacturers Berlei Ltd, Speedo, Buzacott & Co, Tooth & Co, Victa, F T Wimble & Co. and Wunderlich Ltd;
innovators such as Charles Beauvais (automobile design), George Brooks (SILLIAC computer), Evelyn Owen (machine gun), Henry Setright (totalisators) and Roy Wells (totalisators);
commercial photographers Henry Talbot, David Mist, Robert Rosen and Bruno Benini.
Instrumentos de pesquisa, guias e publicações
Unpublished guides and inventories are available in hard copy and digitally for much of the collection. Please contact the Archivist for details.
área de acesso
horário de funcionamento
Open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm by appointment. Closed on public holidays.
Condição de acesso e uso
Public access to the Museum’s Archives is by appointment only. Researchers are required to complete an application form when accessing the archives. Contact the Archivist for further details.
The museum seeks to make its collection physically and intellectually accessible to those with disabilities.
área de serviços
serviços de pesquisa
Limited research assistance available.
serviços de reprodução
Digital photography for private research and study is allowed in most situations. Where a copy request is for other purposes, the request will be referred to the Museum’s Rights and Permissions Officer. Photocopying is not permitted.
Kitchen and lounge facilities are available for use by researchers.
Zona do controlo
Identificador da descrição
Identificador da instituição
Regras ou convenções utilizadas
Nível de detalhe
Datas de criação, revisão ou eliminação
Revised 12 April 2018
Línguas e escritas
Notas de manutenção
Pontos de acesso
Pontos de acesso
Arts and Culture (Thematic area)
Built Environment (Thematic area)
Indigenous (Thematic area)
Industry, Manufacturing and Commerce (Thematic area)
Medicine and Health (Thematic area)
Passatempos / Lazer / Desportos (Thematic area)
Science and Technology (Thematic area)
Transportation (Thematic area)
Travel and Exploration (Thematic area)
Área de transferência
500 Harris Street, Ultimo Sydney, New South Wales 2007