Inside the Collection

Old objects new ideas: volcanoes and climate change

Lump of rock is actually a piece of lava from Mt. Vesuvius
Photography by Marinco Kojdanovski. Collection: Powerhouse Museum

This inconspicuous lump of rock is actually a piece of lava from Mt. Vesuvius, Italy. It is one of the Museum’s earliest collected objects, having been purchased in 1886 in New York.

It was probably no more that a curiosity back then, yet it has been incredibly valuable for us to use in discussing contemporary issues.
It is on display in the Ecologic exhibition, and used to explore some of the causes of climate change (other than anthropomorphic climate change).

Large volcanic eruptions can impact earths climate reducing the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface, lowering temperatures in the troposphere, and changing atmospheric circulation patterns.

One response to “Old objects new ideas: volcanoes and climate change

  • It’s great to see early collection objects being used in new ways. This is a good example of why the practice of deaccessioning objects from Museum collections can be a high risk practice. Museums can never know the significance that can increase over time with some collections such as mineral and timber specimens now being used to research climate change.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *