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DESIGN & STYLE

Hyde Park Barracks Museum Is Closing to Undergo a Multimillion-Dollar Transformation

When it reopens in late-2019, it will be home to interactive installations that surround you with visuals and sound.
By Jasmine Crittenden
January 22, 2019
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Hyde Park Barracks Museum Is Closing to Undergo a Multimillion-Dollar Transformation

When it reopens in late-2019, it will be home to interactive installations that surround you with visuals and sound.
By Jasmine Crittenden
January 22, 2019
  shares

The Hyde Park Barracks, built in 1819 to house male convicts and now a UNESCO World Heritage-listed museum, will close on Tuesday, January 29 for an $18 million dollar makeover. When it reopens in late 2019, the site's current exhibitions will be replaced with state-of-the-art immersive experiences. Prepare to step back into convict history and discover its impacts on First Nations people.

Behind the revamp is Local Projects, a New York-based design studio, who'll be working with Sydney Living Museums, to breathe new life into the Barracks' 4000 strong-collection of objects. They'll be drawing on powerful stories, adding interactive elements and creating installations that surround you with visuals and sound.

"This $18 million renewal project reflects the best in contemporary museum design. It will bring the personal stories to life in a truly authentic, emotional way that is relevant to people's lives today,"said Sydney Living Museums' Executive Director Mark Goggin in a statement.

Hyde Park Barracks during Vivid Festival, via Flickr.

For tens of thousands of years, the land on which the museum stands was home to Gadigal People, who remain the land's traditional custodians. The new, immersive Museum will explore their connection to the area, as well as the impact on their lives by the Barracks' construction and colonisation.

Commissioned by Governor Lachlan Macquarie and designed by convict-turned-architect Francis Greenway, the building served as a convict prison from 1819–1848, when it transformed into temporary accommodation for female immigrants, mainly Irish orphans escaping the Great Famine. More than 100,000 people lived in the building between 1819 and 1887. But it wasn't until the early 1980s that archaeologists dug up the 120,000 objects – from coins and soup bones to clothing and bottles – left behind.

Hyde Park Barracks Museum will close on January 29 and will unveil its new-look in late-2019. We'll update you as soon as we know more.

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Top image: Andy Mitchell via Flickr.

Published on January 22, 2019 by Jasmine Crittenden

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