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NSW Environment Minister Mark Speakman has welcomed almost $2 million in funding for two of Sydney’s best known living museums.

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has announced funding for Hyde Park Barracks Museum and the Museum of Sydney – the site of the first Government House.

The grants have been made under the Australian Government’s Protecting National Historic Sites Programme, with $1 million for Hyde Park Barracks and $820,000 for Museum of Sydney.

“I’m delighted with this funding for Hyde Park Barracks Museum and Museum of Sydney, two significant properties with a rich history and connection back to the earliest period of British colonial settlement,” Mr Speakman said.

Hyde Park Barracks was Sydney’s principal prison between 1819 and 1848 and is now a UNESCO World Heritage-listed public museum and site with an internationally significant archaeological collection.

The funding will ensure Hyde Park Barracks Museum continues to meet UNESCO World Heritage Standards, by enabling Sydney Living Museums to revisit the site’s conservation management plan as well as to investigate ways to improve the visitor experience.

“The Barracks is one of our most visited sites,” Mr Speakman said.

Now part of Museum of Sydney, the site of the first Government House, with its intact archaeological collection, is significant as the only tangible link to the first year of European settlement, colonial government and the development of Sydney.

The funding will ensure the development of a new conservation management plan for the first Government House and enable us to investigate ways to enhance visitor interpretation and to improve access to the original 1788 archaeological remnants.

Sydney Living Museums manages and cares for 12 of the most important historic houses, gardens and museums in NSW, Elizabeth Farm, Vaucluse House, Susannah Place Museum and Museum of Sydney.

Visitors can discover the histories of these sites and the many people connected to them, from convicts and free settlers, Aboriginal clans and colonists, to troopers and bushrangers.