Inside the Collection

Year: 2014

A Fine Possession and solving the mystery of a French pendant

October 8, 2014

Anni Turnbull
Every now and again when working with a Museum’s collection, you will come across an object that was acquired so long ago that little is known about its provenance. There are a few meagre clues to help uncover what you hope will turn out to be an enriching and surprising story, something that shows that this piece is special.

Mechanisation of road building – 1920 steam tip wagon

October 6, 2014

Margaret Simpson
In the early decades of the twentieth century steam-powered vehicles including traction engines, steam wagons, road locomotives, road rollers and steam fire engines were a common sight on Australian roads.

Pacific objects in focus #2: Admiralty Islands ceremonial regalia

October 1, 2014

Melanie Pitkin
This ceremonial regalia from the Admiralty Islands (early 20th century) is one of the Museum’s most prized Pacific pieces. While individual components of the regalia (like the armbands or apron) can often be found in public and private collections, a near or complete set, like this, is very rare.

The Story of Australia’s First Airmail-Part 10

September 29, 2014

Kerrie Dougherty
As Maurice Guillaux recovered from the August 1 crash of his aircraft (see Part 9 of this story), war broke out in Europe, plunging that continent into the conflict that would become known as The Great War.

World War One grenades: one with a lifesaving little lever

September 22, 2014

Damian McDonald
The weapon which would conjure up a - albeit highly visceral - image World War One trench warfare would be the rifle bayonet. So much grainy footage of young men charging across no-man’s-land with bayonets fixed gives us the impression that that was the main strategy of trench battle.

Jewellery at the Powerhouse: an interns perspective

September 17, 2014

Anni Turnbull
One of the striking things I have discovered while researching Australian and international jewellery in preparation for the exhibition A fine possession: jewellery and identity, is the way in which the contemporary Australian jewellery scene has been shaped by European tradition.

Sex and Museums: uncovering a tool of delight

September 15, 2014

Damian McDonald
As part of the Ultimo Science Festival 2014, the Powerhouse Museum hosted a night of the Science of Sex. Along with talks form Dr Karl Kruszelnicki from University of Sydney, evolutionary biologist Professor Rob Brooks, and marine biologist Professor Emma Johnston from UNSW, Museum curators brought out a selection of sex related objects from the collection.

Jewellery and adornment from the Pacific, part 1: Fijian pig’s tusk

September 10, 2014

Melanie Pitkin
Since the late 19th century, the Museum has collected a select and representative range of Pacific material culture - namely, body ornament, clubs, implements of daily use, textiles and dress - from the island regions of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia.

Marc Newson and Apple design at the Powerhouse Museum

September 8, 2014

Angelique Hutchison
The recent news of Marc Newson joining the Apple team is a big deal in the design world. This really does confirm the Australian-born designer’s ‘superstar’ status. Those of you familiar with the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences would know that our collection features many products designed by Newson for the mass market.

Remembering World War One: Geoffrey Hargrave’s life in six photos

September 5, 2014

Debbie Rudder
Lawrence Hargrave, aeronautical inventor, was one of thousands of Australians who lost a son in World War 1. Among the Hargrave artefacts and papers in the Museum’s collection, there are six photos that tell the story of his son, Geoffrey Lewis Hargrave.

A major jewellery exhibition opens soon at the Powerhouse Museum

September 3, 2014

Eva Czernis-Ryl
This week we start installing this Museum’s most ambitious jewellery exhibition ever. Celebrating the central place of jewellery in cultures from antiquity to now, A fine possession: jewellery and identity will present over 700 pieces of jewellery from Australia, Europe, USA, Asia, Africa and the Pacific which were made and/or worn and collected in Australia.The exhibition opens at the Museum on 24 September.