Inside the Collection

And now we are five – the Powerhouse Discovery Centre, Castle Hill, celebrates its five year anniversary.

1915 Chappell and Sons Grand Pianoforte

When compared with the Powerhouse Museum’s ripe old age of 133 years, the Powerhouse Discovery Centre can definitely be considered to be a much younger sibling, but the team of staff and volunteers from the Discovery Centre are very excited to be celebrating our fifth birthday on Saturday 10th March.

In March 2007, the Powerhouse Discovery Centre opened its doors as the Powerhouse Museum’s publicly accessible storage and collection care facility, a project that took around five years and hundreds of hours of hard work from staff members across the Museum’s departments. Since opening, the Discovery Centre has been described as a ’treasure trove of objects’, ‘the knick-knack faddy shack’ and the ‘best sheds full of amazing stuff’ that some visitors and reporters have seen. Housing over 50 000 objects in state-of-the-art facilities, the Discovery Centre really is a wonderland of amazing memories and stories and for many of our visitors, a lovely trip down memory lane. These days, our younger visitors were not even born when Sydney hosted the 2000 Olympic Games so for some, even our newest objects are considered ‘old’!

Over the past five years, the Discovery Centre has developed a range of programs to include monthly open days and school holiday programs, educational excursions for primary and secondary students and a range of guided tours for special interest, adult and seniors groups. Read more about our upcoming events and educational programs

In the lead-up to our fifth birthday this Saturday (10 March 2012), the Discovery Centre has been working with Michael Atherton, the University of Western Sydney’s Professor of Music, to create an open day filled with music-making fun, motorbikes, make-and-do activities, muscle cars and much more. This has been a rare opportunity to engage a passionate creative mind such as Michael Atherton’s to find new ways to interpret the collection and bring visitors closely the Museum’s objects in innovative ways. Highlights of Michael Atherton’s contribution to our extensive open day program this Saturday include:

Sonic Boom Boom! 2.00pm
Open day visitors will enjoy ‘Sonic Boom Boom!’, a live performance featuring a line-up of fabulous voices and musicians including opera singers, Mina Kanaridis and Derek Blundell, rap artist Jae Tee, beat box artist Genesis, and musicians Adam Barck, Holly Harrison, Chris Conroy, Ossie Jellyman and Peter Jovanov. This specially commissioned performance composed and conducted by Michael Atherton also includes Harley Davidson motorbikes, mayhem and a few surprises!

Hands on Heritage: A Piano Rotation 12.00pm onwards
Michael Atherton has composed piano music to be performed in rotation on three rare pianos held in the Powerhouse Collection at Castle Hill; a 1915 Chappell and Sons grand pianoforte, 1924 Gulbransen upright player piano, and a piano made by Estey Piano Co, New York in 1901. Introduced by Michael Lea, Powerhouse Curator of Music and Musical Instruments and led by guest pianist, Peter Jovanov, open day visitors will be encouraged to play a few bars too!

Open Store: Transport Collection 11.30am—1.30pm
Families are able to take the rare opportunity to go behind-the-scenes for a sneak peek into a storage area usually restricted to visitors aged twelve years and over! Head behind-the-scenes to view some of the hidden treasures in the Museum’s transport collections including early horse-drawn vehicles, a 1920s Stanley Steamer, a Nota Fang Australian-built sports car, a 1930s Luna Park Big Dipper roller coaster carriage, pre-1915 boneshakers and penny farthing bicycles. Terms and conditions apply.

To celebrate our fifth birthday, general admission is free of charge to help our visitors enjoy the birthday fun. Our aim for this open day is to make the collection objects more accessible than ever, so come along and enjoy the birthday fun!

For our complete open day program, follow this link and for further information, phone the Discovery Centre on 02 9762 1300.

Please Note Additional charges and conditions may apply for some open day programs.

Post by Christopher Snelling and Kelly Mitchell, Castle Hill Discovery Centre

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