Inside the Collection

Innovation, mining and bush regeneration

February 26, 2014

Anni Turnbull
Broken Hill in the far west of NSW is not necessarily the first place you would think of as the beginning of bush regeneration. It is known more for its mining than its environmental history. However the earliest green action in Australia was inspired by Albert Morris and the Barrier Field Naturalists Club in Broken Hill.

Hanging Dick Smith’s helicopter

February 24, 2014

Kate Chidlow
The King’s School at Parramatta in Sydney, has recently completed a new Innovation building. The domed foyer in the building was specifically designed to exhibit large science objects. The King’s School approached the Powerhouse Museum to formally request a loan of an object from the Museum’s collection and Dick Smith’s helicopter, donated to the Museum in 1990, is the first object to be displayed in the new building.

Pumice from Antarctic volcanoes and Sydney beaches

February 19, 2014

Lynne McNairn
Over summer the beaches of Sydney have seen the arrival of a 'pumice raft'. The high tide line has been marked by a distinctive row of small light weight rocks which floated in on the tide. The phenomenon caused much comment amongst beach goers and gave children an exciting new material for their sandcastles.

Neons and museums

February 17, 2014

Charles Pickett
A few years back I was interviewed about the fate of Sydney’s neon advertising signs: 'The great age of neon has passed,' laments Charles Pickett, a curator of design and society at the Powerhouse Museum, an institution that houses the AWA sign that once sat atop the eponymous1930s skyscraper, and a red neon greyhound removed recently from Wentworth Park Raceway.

Love and jewellery

February 14, 2014

Rebecca Evans
Love it or hate it, it’s Valentine’s Day! A day that has celebrated romantic love in the West since the Middle Ages, it is often marked with the giving of gifts as tokens of love. Love and jewellery have long been associated with each other, from betrothal to mourning; it has been given and worn to show passion, devotion and loss.

Goodbye Shirley Temple

February 12, 2014

Margaret Simpson
The popular and timeless child film star, Shirley Temple, has just died at the age of 85. This child's colouring book is one of the many items of merchandising produced when she was in her prime. For adult and child fans alike, it provided a fascinating sneak peek into Shirley's glamorous world showing where she worked at the film studio in Hollywood, her home, pet dogs, rabbits and horse, her own pedal car as well as the car her father drove her to work in.

Water rat fur coat and a long romance

February 10, 2014

Lynne McNairn
This very unusual fur coat was donated to the museum in 1993. Curator, Glynis Jones recalls, "I remember visiting the donor, Mrs Buckland, she sat me down in her lounge room and sipping a small glass of whisky, related the wonderful story of her coat.

Beatles scrapbook needs HELP

February 5, 2014

Kate Chidlow
As well as being the title of a Beatles album, this word could be used to describe the deteriorating condition of a 1960’s Pop music scrapbook made by a Sydney teenager, Jennie Small. The wonderful scrapbook has kindly been donated to the Powerhouse Museum’s collection and it consists of pictures, clippings and headlines taken from newspapers and magazines between 1962-64.

Back to school – with the Queen 60 years ago

February 3, 2014

Margaret Simpson
As children all over Australia went back to school this week after the long Christmas holidays, many will be coming home with stationery lists. In 1954 the exercise book shown above was the "must-have" in school supplies.