Inside the Collection

Category: Collections

Round and round the world we go, travel in the 1930s

October 24, 2012

I have just catalogued the 1930s photographs from The Dahl and Geoffrey Collings Archive as part of an internship project for my Masters of Art Curatorship at the University of Sydney. Although photography was only a small part of their practice, beginning in the mid 1930s, it paints a very broad picture of their holistic approach to art and design.


September 28, 2012

While doing research on the Bullard postcard collection held by the Museum I came across the following wonderful piece on the impact of the Picture Postcard as a cultural and technological innovation.

Einstein’s Theory of Relativity Proven in Australia, 1922

August 22, 2012

In late August 1922 a group of astronomers, naval men, and Aboriginal stockmen began the arduous task of unloading their complicated scientific equipment and stores from boats onto a deserted beach on the coast of Western Australia.

Guns and public opinion

August 20, 2012

Firearms are a polarizing issue. The middle ground is a stripped no-man’s-land. The argument against prevalent gun ownership is of course more than ever legitimate. And honest gun ownership, confined to sportspeople, professional shooters and primary producers is provisional; and reasonable.

Fans of the Powerhouse Collection

August 13, 2012

Looking at ways to house our rich and diverse collection of dress accessories have always been a constant challenge. When an area of the basement store was set aside for the storage of dress and accessories in the early 1980s, we were at the forefront.

How to make a stained glass window, Handel-style

July 18, 2012

Picture a large stained glass window inside a cathedral. You see a variety of colours - perhaps a contrast of red and blue, long slivers of yellow, or a striking sea of white. A pattern emerges, changing your interpretation of the window.

International Museums Day 2012, behind the scenes

May 18, 2012

How do museums, particularly large museums keep going on a daily basis? What do people in these departments called front of house and security do? Fellow curator Geoff Barker and I thought we would show a glimpse of some of the hidden workers photographed with their favourite Museum objects.

Freeman Brothers Studio – Large Format Photographs

December 14, 2011

Unidentified man, from collodion negative, Freeman Brothers Studio, 1871-1880,Powerhouse Museum, H8504-22 Over the last couple of months I have been working on a previously uncatalogued collection of large format, 50.8 cm x 44.5 cm, glass plate negatives donated to the Powerhouse Museum in 1969.

Wireless and Handheld Devices at the Museum of Old and New Art

December 9, 2011

The alarm was set for 5:00am but the rain outside, and five hours sleep, did little to renew the enthusiasm so confidently expressed when Nick’s initially suggested we fly to Tasmania for the day to visit the Museum of Old and New Art ‘MONA’ in Hobart.

Turning on the Canon Canola 1614P

November 7, 2011

A couple of weeks ago the Museum received a request from Peter Miller for access to a collection object.  Now this type of access is not always granted as it is resource intensive - an object needs to be moved to a suitable location for viewing and a curator or conservator may need to be on hand to move the object - remember this material is kept by the Museum for the people of NSW in perpetuity and so we want it to last.

Jobs – not the greatest just the latest

October 7, 2011

During an interview yesterday regarding the design legacy of Steve Jobs I was probed to cast back and find something comparable.  I thought about Olivetti and their penchant, early in the 20th century, for graduates of the Bauhaus who they put to work on shaping their image, corporate and product, with new dynamic graphics and plasticity to product design.  This emphasis and understanding and appreciation from the corporate head down of design were later emulated by Braun and Sony (among others) with even more crafted identities.