Permanent Exhibitions

The Museum comprises of four permanent gallery spaces and up to two temporary gallery spaces. The permanent gallery spaces include:

Gallery 1

This gallery covers the period 1840- 1860. The gallery has four sections:

  • Visitor Orientation video
  • Path to Sainthood Exhibition
  • The Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison-Woods Gallery
  • The Temporary Exhibition Gallery
Path to Sainthood Exhibition

The exhibition is a direct response to the public’s interest in the story of Mary MacKillop’s path to sainthood.

The theme is the exhibition looks at the official Papal visits made over the last 30 years to the tomb of Mary MacKillop. The museum exhibition is aimed to promote a greater understanding of the Roman Catholic Church’s process for canonisation.

The Delezio family highlight the spirit of Mary alive today. The family have been supported by the Sisters of St Joseph and attribute Sophie’s wellbeing though the intercession of Mary MacKillop.

Video clips and objects on display relive the key events within the history of the course for canonisation.

Sainthood Gallery

The Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison-Woods Gallery

The themes include Mackillop family history, the early inception of the formation of the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph, Fr Julian Tenison Woods the explorer and reformer, early Australian Catholic Church history.

Gallery 1

Gallery 2

The Education Learning Space and recreated Penola School house theatrette is dedicated to the history of the Josephite’s contribution to Australian education.

A recreated school building transports you to the mid-1800s. The theatrette presents a short documentary revealing the story of Mary and Julian’s vision and contribution to education.

Interactive learning space is equipped with integrated communication technology for use in school group sessions. Explore through the use of immersive technology the story of Mary MacKillop and the early pioneering Sisters of St Joseph in establishing an equitable education system for all Australians exhibition.

Schoolhouse Gallery 2

Gallery 3

This gallery covers the events with the life of the order from 1870- 1880.

Key themes include:

  • The 1870s European context for the Papal approval of the Constitution of the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph. 
  • Irish postulates arriving to Australia.
  • Sisters stories of the establishment of foundations and schools around Australia and New Zealand.

Objects directly relating to the itinerant life of the Sisters, including Maori artefacts gifted to the Sisters who lived and ministered in New Zealand.

Gallery 3

Alma Cottage

Alma Cottage was the home of Mary MacKillop from 1884 until her death in 1909.

She wrote to the Sisters in Adelaide: ‘there are eleven rooms and a beautiful balcony commanding three views of the harbour’ (9.5.1884).  Mary died in this cottage on August 8, 1909 surrounded by her Sisters.

The home is furnished and restored to reflect the austere desires of Mary MacKillop to live a humble life.

The annex displays a short history of the Sisters living and working in The Rocks area before their resettlement in North Sydney. 

Alma Cottage Interior

Click here to take a virtual tour through the Chapel and Alma Cottage