This time of year is one of consumable abundance in Australia. We are encouraged to indulge in large quantities of high calorie, highly processed sugar-rich foods; and to consume alcohol. Although a legal and celebrated intoxicant, alcohol is a strong mood altering drug, and consumption levels can be quite difficult to gauge.
Inside the Collection
It's exactly a year to the day since Australian adventurers, James Castrission and Justin Jones, celebrated Christmas in Antarctica during their trek from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and return.
The Museum's magnificent 1928 Type 37A supercharged Grand Prix Bugatti racing car would be on many a visitor's Christmas wish list. The car was the work of the brilliant designer, Ettore Bugatti (1881-1947).
With Christmas almost upon us and countless nativity plays and greeting cards featuring wise men and camels, my thoughts turn to a rare and interesting item in the Museum's collection I researched a number of years ago, a camel pack saddle.
The recent death of Oscar Niemeyer has attracted glowing tributes from around the world. As well as being truly venerable (104 years old) and extraordinarily prolific (about 400 projects), Niemeyer (or just Oscar as he is usually known in Brazil) was the last of the great Modernists.
You’ve probably seen the image above many times: it is, after all, said to be the most widely reproduced image in history. However, you may not be aware that it was taken during the Apollo 17 mission, NASA’s last lunar landing mission, that came to a successful conclusion 40 years ago today.
This camera, a Sony Mavica FD-91 is a remarkable display object, as testified by more than a decade on display in our Cyberworlds gallery. Not only was it purchased and purposefully dismantled (or exploded) to display the mechanism and electronic engineering of the camera, but it stands as a crossover piece between things that are built from materials (plastics, metals, electronics) and things that are birthed from objects like it; things that are ‘born digital.’ It was collected and remains an important teaching tool for a range of age groups.
Christmas is that time of year when thoughts of toys are unavoidable. Personally, I love dolls houses, the way the everyday boring world suddenly becomes special when replicated in miniature. Dolls houses provoke inventiveness and problem solving.
Wes Standfield's Supreme mousetrap-making machine has been very popular with visitors to the Powerhouse Discovery Centre since 2007. Definitely a ‘cracking contraption’, it is making its debut appearance at the Powerhouse Museum in conjunction with Wallace & Gromit’s World of Invention.
Sadly, the Powerhouse Museum farewelled two more supporters this year – poster artist Harry Rogers (b. 20 November 1929 – d.19 May 2012) and his wife Valmai (Val) Rogers, who died on 23 November 2012.
One of the classic images of the Victorian Christmas was the rocking horse which still features on cards today. At the turn of the twentieth century horses were still a vital part of life. In the country they provided muscle for many farm operations, and in the town they powered transport.
Victorian mourning tradition included from commissioning clothing, jewellery and accessories, to the more unusual traditions like post mortem photography. I was interested in taking a closer look at this forgotten practice of excess in the Australian tradition, uncovering the extensive practices of widows in the Victorian era.