Year: 2014

Hanging Dick Smith’s helicopter

February 24, 2014

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

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

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

Love and jewellery

February 14, 2014

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

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

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

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

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.

Happy Lunar New Year – the year of the horse

January 31, 2014

The Lunar New Year is the most significant annual celebration for Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese cultures. January 31, 2014 marks the start of the Lunar New Year better known as Chinese New Year, and begins 'The Year of the horse'.

Rolling map leads to 1906 Navman prototype

January 27, 2014

Simple objects can take us on fascinating journeys into the past. This Roll-a Road caught my eye in our basement store because of its resonance with modern GPS navigation devices. It is about the same size as a Navman and served much the same purpose, but it was designed for manual operation, its format is portrait rather than landscape, and the user had to know where they were before they could start using it to guide them to their destination.

Utility and beauty through science

January 22, 2014

Do you know what a heliostat is? As with most scientific instruments, I had my educated guesses but didn’t know for sure. Luckily my colleagues are Matthew Connell and Nick Lomb and they can assist me in understanding my curiosities.