Inside the Collection

Road signs as art

May 30, 2012

Anni Turnbull
Surrounded by signs in our daily city existence sometimes we notice them, hopefully when driving or crossing the road. But often they meld into an overall of street scenery. There is an abundance of signs in urban landscapes as captured by photographer David Mist in the 1960s pictured below.

Dursley Pedersen bicycle

May 28, 2012

Margaret Simpson
How do you ride this bike, where's the seat? This rare gentleman's bicycle in our collection takes its name from its Danish inventor, Mikael Pedersen, and the Gloucestershire town in England where it was made.

Michael Callaghan 1952-2012

May 25, 2012

Anne-Marie Van de Ven
The above bi-lingual screenprinted poster design by Michael Callaghan, was produced at Redback Graphix in Wollongong in 1984 for CAAMA, the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (established 1980).

Fact or fiction using forensic science in conservation

May 23, 2012

Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences
Trying to date an object can be a challenge particularly if it has been in the collection a while with little background information. Now there are a few ways of identifying the origins of an object.

Curious Communications

May 21, 2012

Lynne McNairn
Recently I blogged about how sedan chairs (seen here on display in our Transport Exhibition) were used in London in the 1600 and 1700s. However sedan chairs were never really used in Australia so how did this peculiar item end up here?

International Museums Day 2012, behind the scenes

May 18, 2012

Anni Turnbull
How do museums, particularly large museums keep going on a daily basis? What do people in these departments called front of house and security do? Fellow curator Geoff Barker and I thought we would show a glimpse of some of the hidden workers photographed with their favourite Museum objects.

Books, the best thing since sliced bread

May 17, 2012

Anne-Marie Van de Ven
In this National Year of Reading, it is appropriate that the Powerhouse Museum mounts an exhibition which celebrates excellence is Australian book design and publishing. While the Museum collection contains hundreds of books, including the two children’s books illustrated above (one hand made in Australia by 13 year old William Harrison for his niece in England, the other published in England but used in Australian schools), it holds very few winning books from the Australian Publishers Association (APA) annual Book Design Awards (BDA).

Museum Exhibitions – some new approaches

May 16, 2012

Geoff Barker
Over the last six months or so the Powerhouse Museum has been going through a major revitalisation project. One result of all this activity has been the opening up of some large exhibition spaces.

What does a curator really do in a day?

May 14, 2012

Min-Jung Kim
People often ask me what curators do. Usually my answer is "we research, collect, document and display objects.” However, this answer doesn’t seem to satisfy people who wonder what really goes on behind the scenes in the museums and galleries.

Chrysanthemums and mums

May 13, 2012

Anni Turnbull
Chrysanthemums are often given as mothers day flowers in Australia, as they are in season in May. However they have a longer history, initially cultivated in China as a flowering herb as far back as the 15th century BC.

Hermes scarves inspired by the Otomi

May 9, 2012

Lindie Ward
The vibrant Mexican colours and motifs of the Otomi textiles have not escaped the eye of French fashion house, Hermes, which has translated them into beautiful embroidered scarves. Through their project Hermes is now giving income and security to the skilled embroiderers of Central Mexico.

Solving Traffic Congestion in 1634

May 7, 2012

Lynne McNairn
Traffic congestion in a big city like Sydney is never far from the headlines and for those of us who need to cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge it is a daily reality. But traffic congestion in cities is nothing new.