The National Historical Collection originally consisted of objects transferred by the Commonwealth Government following the Museum's establishment in 1980. These were primarily objects from the former Australian Institute of Anatomy, the former Institute of Aboriginal Studies, the University of Sydney as well as a number of government departments and agencies. Since 1980 the Museum has acquired objects primarily through donations and, to a limited extent, by sponsorship and purchase. The Museum does not have access to special purpose acquisition funds such as those available currently to other national collecting institutions. Objects in the Collection total some 190,000 items.