Inside the Collection

Meet the curator – Geoff Barker

Portrait of curator Geoff Barker
Photography by Sotha Bourn © Powerhouse Museum all rights reserved

Geoff Barker

What is your speciality area?
Nineteenth century Australian and Pacific photography and the links between science and photography have been overriding interests for a number of years. But one my favourite aspects of the Heritage Industry is the eclectic nature of the work and I have found myself travelling along multiple paths, often at the same time, looking at all kinds of stuff from the arcane to the everyday. As a result dinner conversations tend to be either interesting or deadly dull depending on what you think about heliographs, woodburytypes, Sydney Olympic costumes or the semantic web.

How long have you been working at the Museum?
About 2 ½ years now, but before coming here I was Acting Manager of the St George Regional Museum and curator of the photography collection at the Macleay Museum, at the University of Sydney.

What is your favourite object in the collection?
Too hard. This museum has one of the broadest and most fascinating collections I’ve ever seen but highlights would include the Auzoux botanical models, the multi-wave oscillator made by Angas Jones in a container in his backyard in Dundas, and the early stereo-photographs of Sydney taken by William Hetzer between 1858 and 1863.

What piece of research or exhibition are you most proud of in your career at the Museum?
I am really proud of the work I did with the Total Asset Management Team in developing the open storage displays at the Castle Hill Stores. But usually I’m most proud of whatever I happen to be working on at the time and at the moment I’m working on hundreds of un-documented Indigenous Australian and Pacific Island photographs taken in the 1890s. The really good aspect of this project is working on getting copies of these back to the communities where they were originally taken.

2 responses to “Meet the curator – Geoff Barker

  • hi just thought i would give it a try and hope to find someone that could help me…i have a number of lee gordon presents (promotional tour magazines) including a signed frank sinatra and many more are autographed from the late 40’s to mid 50’s. i have had little luck in getting an honest response and was hoping u could put me in touch with the curator involved with the 50’s rock n roll memoribillia exhibit held there a few years ago.
    thanks for reading my letter and fingers crossed you can help

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