Inside the Collection

Category: Design

Design Nation: When Australian Design Moulded the World

March 1, 2018

Damian McDonald
Colonised Australia felt it had grown into an independent, and quite sexy young adult by the 1980s. The 1988 bicentenary was a celebration of all that Europeans had acheived in Australia in 200 years.  It was also a year which benefited from the optimism of the Wran NSW Labor Government - which commissioned, among other public institutions and spaces, the ingeniously designed converted power station as the new home for the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Ultimo, Sydney.

The International Auto Buggy – a real “horseless carriage”

January 23, 2018

Margaret Simpson
On Australia Day, 26 January 2018, the CARnivale classic day display will be held in Parramatta Park in Western Sydney. The car I’ve chosen from the Museum’s eclectic automobile collection to exhibit at the event is a 20 hp International Auto Buggy made in 1910.

Life Cycles: Sustainable Materials Library

January 10, 2018

Keinton Butler
In 1907, while developing an alternative to shellac, a natural resin secreted from the East Asian lac bug and used to insulate electrical cables in the early 20th century, Belgian chemist Leo Baekeland invented the world’s first mouldable synthetic polymer, called Bakelite.

Holden is history

October 20, 2017

Margaret Simpson
Australians are reeling with the announcement on 11 December, 2013, that Holden, an Australian icon, will stop building cars here in 2017. How has this happened? With some 66 makes available in Australia these days, twice the choice US drivers have, clearly we don't like football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars quite enough any more.

3D Printing and the Open Source Movement

September 26, 2017

Nina Earl
If you have been to a maker fair or school in the last few years, then you may have seen 3D printers in action. But when did this manufacturing technology first emerge and why was there so much hype? 3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing, where the object is created by laying down successive layers of building material until the desired form is reached.

The Mystery of Mrs Janet McDonald

July 28, 2017

Marcus Hughes

This wedding dress was worn by an Australian Indigenous women identified as Mrs Janet McDonald. Do you know anything about her?

Frank Lloyd Wright 150th

June 7, 2017

Anne-Marie Van de Ven
8 June marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the 20th century's most important architects. Born in Wisconsin, Frank Lloyd Wright established his own practice in Chicago in 1893 and led the Prairie School, a movement that spanned the end of the 19th century and the start of the 20th century.

Chinese New Year pictures & propaganda posters

January 25, 2017

Min-Jung Kim
In celebration of the Lunar New Year (28 January 2017), I have curated a small group of Chinese New Year pictures and propaganda posters. The brightly coloured posters portray elements of Chinese political visual culture.

World AIDS Day 2016

November 28, 2016

Damian McDonald
HIV is still here - and it's on the move For folk who lived through the 1980s, AIDS was an omnipresent gargoyle. The disease was part of the contemporary culture. It had insinuated itself into current affairs stories and commercials, into youth culture, gay culture, tea-room discussions, into jokes, bullying; and into people’s bodies.

Printing fashion in 3D: the inBloom Dress

November 1, 2016

Kylie Budge
Why would a museum collect 3D printed objects? To answer this question it’s important to think about why museums collect anything at all. Museum collections, on the whole, show a deep, human preoccupation with material culture - the things that surround us.

Guy Buckingham and Australian Motor Racing

December 1, 2015

Margaret Simpson
Last month saw the passing of Guy Buckingham (1921-2015), the man who introduced low-cost motor sport into Australia with the Formula Vee. This was an inexpensive open-wheeled racing car for beginners using a VW engine, suspension and transmission, devised in 1959.