The Macleay Museum is a museum of natural and cultural history. It had its origins in the collection of insects begun by Alexander Macleay in the late 18th century. It has developed into an extraordinary collection of natural history specimens, ethnographic artefacts, scientific instruments and historic photographs.The Macleay Museum holds the oldest natural history collection in Australia, originating in the cabinets of Alexander Macleay, and expanded through the collecting networks of the Macleay family from Darwin to Raffles, from Cuba to Wagga Wagga. A snapshot of early biodiversity is provided through our zoological specimens.The Macleay Museum cares for the historically rich collections of Aboriginal, Torres Strait and Pacific islanders' cultural material; including objects collected on the early scientific expedition, the Chevert, and those collected in the early years of anthropology at The University of Sydney. The collection continues to hold relevance to peoples across our region. The work of University scientists is reflected in the collection of scientific instruments and apparatus used in research and teaching, and is part of the story of scientific practice in Australia.The Historic Photograph Collection records life in Australia and the Pacific region, from the late 1840s to the 1960s, as captured by both commercial and amateur photographers. It includes a wide range of photographic formats, reflecting the changing technology of photography.In addition, the Macleay Museum holds a wealth of material reflecting the Museum's history. This includes a significant library, furniture, historic documents and ephemera relating to the major collectors.
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