Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo (Image: AAP/Joel Carrett)

Today, Sydney's Powerhouse Museum will begin shutting its doors to the public, the beginning of a highly controversial relocation to Parramatta, in the heart of western Sydney.

The arts, science and technology museum, best known for its vast collection of steam engines and planes has stood in its current Ultimo site for over 30 years, and become a part of Sydney's cultural fabric. But the state government's decision, five years ago, to shut down the site and shift its collection to Parramatta continues to be met with anger and confusion from heritage experts.

An act of cultural vandalism?

The Powerhouse Museum's move west has never been popular. Opinion pieces from arts figures have described it as a “one of the most shameful acts of cultural vandalism in the history of this country" and "a global embarrassment".