Category: Collections

The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences has the moves!

April 17, 2015

When you think of a museum employee you might imagine them wearing a tweed jacket, horn rimmed glasses and white gloves while they talk at you in dry monotone. In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth (except for the horn-rimmed glasses.

Wirth’s Circus hits the road

April 8, 2015

The Circus Factory exhibition includes costumes, photographs and documents from the Museum's Wirth's Circus collection. The Wirth name has a special place in Australian circus folklore. Billed as Australia's own 'Greatest Show on Earth', Wirth's Circus toured from 1880 until its demise in 1963.

Portrait of the artist

December 29, 2014

This rather majestic black and white photographic portrait of Australian artist, designer and photographer Dahl Collings (Dulcie May Wilmott 1910-1988) was shot by her husband Geoffrey Collings (1905-2000) during a trip to Stonehenge around 1936.

Curating shoes: from heel to toe

December 17, 2014

On 29 November 2014, the Museum opened 'RECOLLECT: Shoes' – a new exhibition inspired by the idea of visible display storage. Comprising more than 800 shoes dating from the 1500s to now, visitors can see everything from the first pair of elastic sided boots in the world made for Queen Victoria in 1837 to designer names like Louboutin, Yves Saint Laurent and Lacroix.

Ice Bird – the unsinkable boat

October 27, 2014

Restoration of the sailing boat that made the first single handed voyage to Antarctica Dr David Lewis was a courageous sailor, an extra-ordinary navigator and an adventurer with big dreams. He was the first navigator in modern times to cross the Pacific Ocean without using instruments, following a legendary Maori course from Tahiti to New Zealand.

World War One grenades: one with a lifesaving little lever

September 22, 2014

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.

Sex and Museums: uncovering a tool of delight

September 15, 2014

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.

War Time Dress on the Australian Dress Register

September 1, 2014

The Australian Dress Register (ADR) is a website that celebrates men’s, women’s and children’s dress that has an Australian provenance. Museums and private collectors are encouraged to research their garments and share the stories and photographs on the Register.

The Marchinbar find – Medieval travels to Australia from Africa?

July 9, 2014

In 1944 when Morry Isenberg discovered nine coins lying in the sand on the island of Marchinbar in the Northern Territory, little would he have imagined they would lead to explosive claims about Australia’s early global connections and, nearly 70 years after this chance encounter, provide the motivation for an international expedition.

Powerhouse goes to Venice

June 11, 2014

The Venice Architecture Biennale launched on the weekend. As the new Australian pavilion is under construction the Australian exhibition for Venice uses augmented reality apps to create Augmented Australia, a virtual, mobile exhibition.

Monterey Moderne

June 9, 2014

With design historian Michael Bogle I recently completed a heritage report and a visitors’ guide called Monterey Moderne.  Commissioned by Rockdale City Council the report and guide are about a group of 1930s houses in the streamlined Moderne style in the small suburb of Monterey on the western shore of Botany Bay.