Inside the Collection

Behind the Scenes

Technologies that changed our mind

July 10, 2013

Sandra McEwen
If you could nominate just one technology that's changed your life, what would it be? There are plenty that we wouldn't want to live without, but some technologies have affected us so profoundly that they've changed the way we think.

Julian Tenison Woods, spiritual advisor to Mary McKillop

May 13, 2013

Anni Turnbull
Behind the scenes at the Powerhouse, a team of people has been chipping away at a coalface. They are mining the collection. As part of a TAM (Total Asset Management) project, they are digitising early acquisition records to make sure the collection database contains a record of every item collected since the beginning of the Museum in 1882.

Discovery of 400 World War One Photographic Portraits

April 24, 2013

Geoff Barker
Sometimes museum work can take a long time to bear fruit and this collection of World War One portraits is a case-in-point. For most of the twentieth century they were buried within the huge collection acquired by James Tyrrell, the Sydney bookstore owner.

National Historical Machinery Rally, Mudgee 2013

April 19, 2013

Debbie Rudder
Mudgee is the place to be from 19th to 21st April. Historic engines and tractors will be there in force, but there will be a lot more to interest visitors, from Clydesdale horses to old-style games for children.

Doing jigsaws at work, recapturing an 1880s image

March 20, 2013

Kate Chidlow
Most people don't have the patience to attempt what our recent intern, Amir Mogadam from the Universtiy of Newcastle has just finished – probably one of the most challenging jigsaws you’re ever likely to see.

Trial by Fire – the formation of the Powerhouse Museum’s collections from the ashes of the Garden Palace

March 4, 2013

Geoff Barker
The story of the creation of the Powerhouse museum starts with the project to host an international exhibition in the grounds of the Sydney Domain in 1879. Based on similar displays in London and Paris it drew from around the world all manner of objects relating to the industrial and applied arts.These were all to be housed in the ‘Garden Palace’ exhibition building, which was designed in a week and built in less than a year.

Explosion… A Sony Mavica guide to digital migration

December 19, 2012

Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences
This camera, a Sony Mavica FD-91 is a remarkable display object, as testified by more than a decade on display in our Cyberworlds gallery. Not only was it purchased and purposefully dismantled (or exploded) to display the mechanism and electronic engineering of the camera, but it stands as a crossover piece between things that are built from materials (plastics, metals, electronics) and things that are birthed from objects like it; things that are ‘born digital.’ It was collected and remains an important teaching tool for a range of age groups.

Wallace & Gromit’s World of Invention: Victa mower

November 12, 2012

Debbie Rudder
Why is this lawnmower being checked out and spruced up in the Powerhouse Museum’s conservation lab? The answer is it’s one a diverse group of objects I’ve selected to add to the whacky mix of stories, ideas and activities in the upcoming exhibition Wallace & Gromit’s World of Invention.

Tales of a travelling platypus, supporting regional museums

October 31, 2012

Vanessa Pitt
Bright and early on a Monday morning in September, Conservators Carey Ward and Vanessa Pitt made the long and sometimes bumpy ride in the Powerhouse Museum (PHM) truck to Alstonville Plateau. Carey and Vanessa had been given the task of taking a very special A category object to the Crawford House Museum - a rare platypus skin rug made from the pelts of approximately 80 platypuses, and bordered in possum fur, backed by soft felt.

Designer Suburbs – architects and affordable homes in Australia

October 29, 2012

Charles Pickett
My new book Designer Suburbs: Architects and affordable homes in Australia is back from the printers and will be launched soon. Designer Suburbs began a couple of years back when our former curatorial colleague Judith O’Callaghan asked me if I’d like to co-author a book about the architect-designed project homes of the 1960s and 1970s.