Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Sydney University

VC Michael Spence and David Ellis, Museum Director. Source: SMH Photo: Edwina Pickles.

Andrew Taylor, Sydney University receives $15 million donation to build new Chau Chak Wing museum, The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 September 2015

He may have made his fortune in China’s property market, but Dr Chau Chak Wing is making a name for himself in higher education, with yet another multimillion dollar donation to an Australian university.

A $15 million gift from the reclusive Chinese-Australian entrepreneur will help fund a new museum at the University of Sydney.

The Chau Chak Wing Museum will comprise two of the university’s historic buildings, joined by a new extension, and cost an estimated $42 million.

The rest of the new museum’s costs would  be met from the university’s operating budget, specific project grants, revenue from the museum’s café and shop and philanthropy, according to the director of Sydney University’s museums, David Ellis.

The Chau Chak Wing Museum would be unique among Sydney’s cultural institutions, Mr Ellis said. “A multi-disciplinary museum where the arts and sciences meet and ancient worlds encounter contemporary art and ideas.”

The new museum will house artistic, scientific and archaeological artefacts from the Macleay, Nicholson and University Art Gallery collections. It will include gallery spaces, teaching areas and a venue for public events as well as an exhibition area for Chinese art and artefacts when it opens in 2018.

“I hope that this collaboration will further promote education and enlighten people, building a platform for greater international cultural exchange,” Dr Chau said. “This donation is my heartfelt contribution to developing the Australia-China friendship.”

The building of Chau Chak Wing Museum adds to the building boom in Sydney’s cultural institutions, with plans to redevelop the Australian Museum, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney Opera House, Walsh Bay as well as arts facilities in western Sydney. The Powerhouse Museum will also be moved from Ultimo to Parramatta.

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