Statement of concern: Powerhouse and UTS

Powerhouse Museum Alliance (PMA): Statement on the mooted MOU/ partnership with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), noting the November 14 article in the Sydney Morning Herald: see

Partnerships are at the heart of the way modern museums work in their communities. Most exhibitions, collection research and education programs are developed through partnerships. The Powerhouse Museum (PHM) has a long history of partnerships with research organisations and universities, including UTS.  Such partnerships should generally be transparent, non-exclusive and for a fixed period of time.

The PMA does not support a partnership or MOU that gives UTS, or any other organisation, the dedicated use of all or part of the museum’s facilities, land, collections and expertise. The museum’s buildings, collection and staff are funded by NSW taxpayers for the benefit of the whole community. They should not be subcontracted or leased to any one organisation in the guise of a partnership. The Powerhouse Museum’s facilities must remain intact, in public hands, open and accessible to the whole community.  The PMA believes that it is inappropriate for any organisation to have extended exclusive access to any part of the Powerhouse Museum, including exhibition spaces and theatres.

The Powerhouse Museum Alliance supports the model of the MAAS as the NSW Smithsonian, one museum with a number of satellites sharing the state’s collections. The headquarters of MAAS should remain at Ultimo, with the Powerhouse as its flagship brand, an internationally renowned museum of applied arts and sciences.  There must be no reduction of the PHM’s role and exhibition brief as Australia’s only museum of applied arts and sciences, with the collection at the centre of the museum’s exhibitions and programs.

The PMA does NOT support the sale, lease via an MOU, or any commercial development of the museum’s land and facilities at Ultimo, except as part of a revitalisation project that is initiated, led and controlled by MAAS with the goal of renewing its exhibitions and sustainably funding the PHM’s mission and operations.

The PMA urges the NSW Government to develop a fair and equitable museum plan for NSW that supports great museums in Western Sydney and regional NSW, and landmark museums in Sydney. The NSW Government’s museums should reach a state wide audience. To this end MAAS must be appropriately funded and staffed to deliver services and share its collections with communities across NSW.

20 November 2017