Inside the Collection

Design books

July 31, 2010

Charles Pickett
I’m currently trying to get together a new book about architecture, so I’ve been thinking about design publishing. Although the death of the book is announced daily if not hourly, you don’t have to spend much time at Kinokuniya and similar locales to realise that the design book, at least, is not in any danger.

Radiogram by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni

July 29, 2010

Paul Donnelly
Castiglioni is a name surely synonymous with "cool"?! Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni designed this radiogram for Brionvega in 1966. It was based on their approach that design must restructure an object's function, form and production process and following this led them to reinvent all the products they were commissioned to design.

Sydney Design 2010- Featherston ‘Stem’ chair

July 28, 2010

Melanie Pitkin
Sydney Design 2010 starts on Saturday and runs until August 15. For the next two weeks, we will be blogging exclusively on design, everyday, under this year's theme 'Tell us a story'. As a taster, you'll be able to discover more on Achille Castiglioni and the RR 126 Radiogram, the 'Creating the Look: Benini and fashion photography' exhibition, the Australian International Design Awards, the unique jewellery pieces of this year's design travelling scholarship winner, Liesl Hazelton, designer-makers featured in our 'Young Blood' markets, SD10 events, talks and tours as they happen and in this post, the Featherston 'Stem' chair.

Black box inventor David Warren: a tribute

July 23, 2010

Debbie Rudder
The black box flight recorder was invented in Australia – and championed into production and use – by chemist and aeronautical expert Dr David Warren, who was born in 1925 and died this week. He was curious and clever (qualities needed to be an inventor) – and persistent (the extra quality needed to be a successful innovator).

Giving beetles the boot!

July 22, 2010

Helen Yoxall
My name is Katrina Trewin and I am currently completing a placement in the Museum’s Archives. The professional placement forms part of my Master of Information Studies degree at Charles Sturt University, which I am undertaking via Distance Education thanks to the magic of online subject delivery!

225th birthday of our Boulton and Watt engine – and a search for two birthday buddies

July 21, 2010

Debbie Rudder
We plan to steam our engine on 22 July to celebrate the 225th anniversary of its installation in Whitbread's London brewery. The only known reference to its first steaming is a letter dated 1 August 1785 from engine erector James Law to his boss, James Watt, and held in the Boulton and Watt Archives, Birmingham City Council: 'Sir I thote it proper to let you know wat I was about the millwrites say the will finish nexte week I set the engin to moofe the 22 of the last month I colde a set on the weeack before but I hoped for the copper smiths worck and set on with out it at last the clarkes and the engin house was full but thank god I found very lille defects sir I think a are vessel of a good sise is better than a small one a engin will set an better Mr Witebread and a Lord and Ladys came to see the engin stand and do see me ow soon I colde set it to worke which we did very well…' Without pausing to draw breath, let alone start a new paragraph, Law goes on to complain about the cost of living ('washing, mending and vitles') in London.

Mystery Object

July 19, 2010

Erika Taylor
This week's mystery object has a 25 cm steel shaft and a wooden handle on one end. Is it? a) a device for removing tulip bulbs from the ground b) a device to remove teeth c) a key to a safety box (circa 1800s) Give it your best shot in the comments!

Conservator’s Corner: Caring for maps

July 14, 2010

Melanie Pitkin
One of the Museum's paper conservators, Dee McKillop, has been working on a set of navigation maps including one titled 'Montague Island to Beecroft Head'. The map collection has not been treated since it came into our collection some time ago.

Conservator’s Corner- The Hugo Schroeder Telescope

July 12, 2010

Erika Taylor
A major project to overhaul the Sydney Observatory’s 11.5? Schroeder Telescope has been recently completed. It coincides with the 150th anniversary of the Observatory on 5 June 2008. The key aim was to return the telescope to its 1870s appearance and configuration.

2010 Movable Heritage Fellowship Winner: Carly Todhunter

July 9, 2010

Melanie Pitkin
Each year the Powerhouse Museum's Regional Services Program offers a Movable Heritage Fellowship to students residing in New South Wales enrolled at any University campus. Movable Heritage refers to any natural or manufactured object of heritage significance.