Inside the Collection

The Australian Navy’s centenary, October 2013

September 30, 2013

Debbie Rudder
To mark the centenary of the Royal Australian Navy, I’ve chosen to feature this naval phone, one of several that were crucial to the operation of the navy’s first flagship, HMAS Australia. I have a particular interest in that ship because my grandfather served on it for much of the First World War. The ‘loud-speaking’ hands-free voice-activated phone was used to communicate between the bridge and engine room.

Propeller from Sir Charles Kingsford Smith’s Southern Cross

September 25, 2013

Margaret Simpson
I must have walked past the mounted row of wooden propellers in our large transport store dozens and dozens of times without registering what I was seeing. They are all mostly of beautiful polished timber but it's the broken one that's should have caught my eye.

The original Sacco beanbag – very cool design

September 23, 2013

Lynne McNairn
Beanbags are something I take for granted.  They can be found  in many homes,  in family rooms, teenage bedrooms  and even as pet beds.  They are available in most ‘bargain’ stores and are a symbol of casual (even grotty) student households.

Learning from Denise Scott Brown

September 20, 2013

Charles Pickett
You might have been following the controversy about Denise Scott Brown and the Pritzker Prize. In 1991 Scott Brown’s husband and professional partner Robert Venturi was awarded the Pritzker Prize (often described as architecture’s Nobel Prize).

Museum blogs, a few favourites in 2013

September 18, 2013

Anni Turnbull
When Emily Thomas wrote her guide to the top 100 museum related blogs in July 14, 2009  it was an interesting and brave attempt to list engaging, informative and ongoing Museological posts. I say brave as things don't stay stationary on the web, and something that was good one minute can be gone the next.

Paddle steamers – one of Australia’s inland pioneering transport systems

September 16, 2013

Margaret Simpson
Have you been down to Echuca in Victoria on the Murray River (the NSW and Victorian border) and been for a ride on a paddle steamer? The story of the paddle steamers is one of Australia's amazing inland pioneering transport systems on a par with the camel trains, bullock drays and Cobb and Co coaches.

‘Playing with Light’, weird drawings and an anamorphic mirror

September 11, 2013

Debbie Rudder
  The excellent 'Playing with Light' exhibition opens at the Powerhouse Museum on 14 September to coincide with Ultimo Science Festival. Developed by Scitech in Perth, the exhibition invites curious visitors of all ages to interact with prisms, lenses, mirrors and colour.

A sense of nearness: Tyrrell collection portraits

September 8, 2013

Kathy Hackett
Once I feel myself observed by the lens, everything changes: I constitute myself in the process of ‘posing’, I instantaneously make another body for myself, I transform myself in advance into an image.

Condom architecture

September 4, 2013

Charles Pickett
Re-skinning of buildings takes several forms, not all of them particularly reputable. During the 60s and 70s salesmen prowled the suburbs, seeking out fibro and weatherboard cottages that could be re-clad with aluminium or vinyl.

Powerhouse Museum Pop-UP @ Haldon Street Festival, Lakemba

September 2, 2013

Melanie Pitkin
On Saturday 24th August, the Powerhouse Museum ‘popped-up’ with a small object display and promotional stall at the Haldon Street Festival in Lakemba. Attended by more than 20,000 people, predominantly from the local Canterbury Council area, the festival was a fantastic opportunity for the Museum to bring some of its collection to the people – in particular, objects which not only help to promote a major upcoming exhibition opening at the Museum in 2014, but which have a special relevance and connection to some of the audiences we’re visiting.  The two objects selected for display at this particular Pop-UP was the wasekaseka split sperm whale’s tooth necklace from Fiji dating to the mid-19th century and a contemporary neckpiece titled ‘Red Drop’ by Norwegian designer, Liv Blavarp.

Happy Wattle Day 2013

September 1, 2013

Lynne McNairn
September 1st is Wattle Day, the perfect excuse to feature another of Agard Hagman's lovely botanical illustrations from  1888. The Museum's first Curator, Joseph Maiden (later Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens) was a well known wattle enthusiast.