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Welcome to the RPA Museum.

RPA Museum Operating Theatre
RPA Museum Image: King George V Maternity Hospital for Mothers and Babies 1941 operating theatre

The RPA Museum is dedicated to collecting, recording and preserving the cultural heritage of one of Australia's leading hospitals – the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

Open to the public and free of charge, the museum showcases themes related to nursing, medicine and social history. Two display rooms are situated in original 1941 heritage listed operating theatres. Our archival records span 1868 to the present.

Please note; The Museum does not hold patient records that date within 110 years. For access to patient records, please contact Medical Records on 02 9515 8101 and visit Your Right to Information for further information.

History of the Museum

The RPA Museum was founded in 1933 by Miss Muriel Knox Doherty. It started as the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Museum of Nursing, with a small collection in the Nursing Library of the 1912 Nurses home.

Miss Doherty, was RPA’s first qualified Tutor Sister (Nurse Educator) of the Preliminary Training School for Nurses. A former history teacher, she rescued early editions of Florence Nightingale's Notes on Hospitals and Notes on Nursing from disposal. The books had been given to the nursing staff by Sir Alfred Roberts, one of the founders of Prince Alfred Hospital.

Florence Nightingale had given them to Sir Alfred in 1867.

The books, along with a small collection of certificates and medals awarded to Prince Alfred nurses at the Women's Exhibition of 1888 and medals issued for War Service comprised the first museum display.

In 1936 an Anthony Hordern and Sons Sydney department store donated the first display case to showcase the collection. This display case is still part of the museum today. 

In 1960 a larger more permanent space was allocated to the growing collection in the Queen Mary Nurses' Home and a committee of the newly formed Graduate Nurses' Association took over care of the collection, now known as the Museum of Nursing.

After the closure and sale of the Queen Mary building to the University of Sydney, the museum relocated to the King George V Memorial Hospital for Mothers and Babies in 2004. Completed in 1943, KGV, as it's known to staff is a heritage listed late art deco building.

Renamed the RPA Museum to better reflect the growing and diverse collection of objects, the museum today contains six themed rooms with two heritage listed operating theatres.

The Museum Collection contains over 6000 objects of RPA cultural heritage including photographs, medical equipment, medical journals, department records, hospital board minutes, nursing uniforms, nursing educational material and more.

The RPA Museum collection continues to celebrate the long history and heritage of RPA from the Foundation Story and the attempted assassination of HRH Prince Alfred in 1868, to the world class healthcare and medical innovations of today.

Get Involved

We are always interested in incorporating the talents of new people in our Museum.

RPA Museum manager leading a guided tour of RPA Museum
RPA Museum Image: Museum manager leading a guided tour of RPA Museum.

Our volunteers work primarily to catalogue and photograph the collection, and to escort visitors. 

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact the RPA Volunteer Coordinator, on 02 9515 8284 or contact the RPA Museum at SLHD-RPAMuseum@health.nsw.gov.au
Apply online


RPA Museum is grateful for donations received from our community.

Donations go towards the ongoing care of the collection and our digitisation program.
Donate now

RPA Museum Shop

The RPA Museum Shop sells an assortment of merchandise celebrating the history and heritage of RPA. It can be ordered online or collected from the Museum on Level 8 of the King George V Building at RPA.
View order form