The NSW Schoolhouse Museum of Public Education collects and protects furniture, objects, equipment, books, documents and photographs relating to public education in NSW, focusing on teaching and learning in primary schools from 1850 to 1980. 

The collection contains a wide range of objects with some dating back to the 1870s. Included are samples of pupil work, teaching equipment and resources. These items have been collected from closing public schools, NSW Department of Education donations, purchases and personal donations. 

Objects of School Days Past

Dip into our Objects of School Days Past site to learn about objects from our collection dating from 1870 and 1980. Select from the gallery of 36 featured objects and explore some of the 100 connected objects.

Visit Objects of School Days Past


Appointments can be made for access to the collection for research purposes.

Collection Stories

Read stories about some of the items in our collection.

Search the Collection

The Schoolhouse Museum’s collection is currently being made available online through eHive with about 1900 records there to date. The collection is also currently being digitized and added to our eHive records.

Search eHive

North Ryde Public School class photos

The collection of North Ryde Public School class photos has been fully digitized. Photos from 1890-1954 are available on Flickr. Below is the North Ryde PS Hoop Dance Group, 1926.

Due to the Department of Education’s privacy regulations, class photos from 1955 cannot be publicly available on the Internet. A link to these photos can be sent on request.

North Ryde PS 1926 Hoop dance girls with their floral hoops


Personal items can be offered as donations to the Schoolhouse Museum’s collection. We are currently only accepting items used in NSW primary schools prior to 1972 and that meet our collection criteria. Exceptions may be made for newer objects of a rare or unique nature or in pristine condition with known provenance. All items offered will be assessed by the curatorial team. Not all items can be accepted. 

Documents required by NSW State Archives and Records

Public schools are required to send official historical school records to NSW State Archive and Records  via the Department of Education Information and Records Management section. Records include school registers, punishment books and original photographs.