Museum of The Mind

Modelled on the Museo Laboratorio della Mente in Rome, a group of advocates is proposing to develop a Museum of the Mind in the Kirkbride building at the former Callan Park hospital site in Rozelle, Sydney.

The goal is to develop the Kirkbride buildings into an interactive Mind Museum and Mental Health, Arts and Science Culture Centre. This Centre will include a wide range of learning activities about historical and contemporary understanding and interpretation of the function of the brain, mind and body.


  •  To acknowledge that this is Aboriginal land and the past trauma of the place
  • To develop a learning and healing environment where mental health promotion and mental illness prevention are integral to all aspects of day to day operations
  • To develop a collaborative, sustainable, multipurpose social enterprise providing employment for people with lived experience of mental health disorders, as well as for artists, scientists, educators, gardeners, and people involved in heritage and environment
  • To reflect and build on the heritage of the place as Aboriginal land, a mental health site, an art school and parklands
  • To reflect the rich diversity of individuals and communities in the activities of the Centre
  • To develop a place of belonging, learning and creating.

Three Pillars

1. Mind & Neuroscience
2. Creative Arts & Culture
3. Heritage Nature & Environment

Proposed Activities

  •  Mind Museum – exhibits and activities that are interactive, artistic, creative, respectful, fascinating, relaxing; the mind, the brain, the body, mental health, well-being
  • Conference and Learning Centre – events, conferences, concerts, art exhibitions, workshops
  •  Artists workspaces
  • Café – healthy food sourced where possible from the local garden
  • Garden and nursery producing food for the café and plants for sale
    Historical records and artefacts to preserve the story of the place and for research purposes

Advocacy So Far

  • Meetings, consultations and workshops to clarify the vision and the goals of the Centre.
  • Gathered strong interest and support from many sectors: mental health professionals, consumers and families; artists, art galleries and museums; mental
    health services; historians; environment and gardening groups; local and wider community.
  • Meetings with politicians and government agencies, including the NSW Premier, Minister for Health and Minister for Mental Health.
  • Obtained assistance of international accounting firm to write the business plan
  • Meetings with Director of Museo Laboratorio della Mente, Rome and with Studio Azzurro, Milan

Current Status

The Callan Park site is owned by NSW Department of Health. Under the Callan Park Act 2002 [law] the site must only be used for non-profit purposes and fulfill health, education and/or community outcomes.

We are waiting for government to issue an official Expression of Interest for the use of the Kirkbride Buildings.

More information:

Concept Paper: A NSW Museum of the Mind [pdf]

By Jenna Bateman (CEO, Mental Health Coordinating Council 2000-2017)

Museum of the Mind – Speech on creating a place for mental health in Sydney 2019 [pdf]

Callan Park site – Kirkbride building and grounds – photos [pdf]