Inside the Collection

Exhibitions

Wirth’s Circus — showing the collection

November 24, 2014

Peter Cox
When Rill Wirth, the last surviving child of the great circus proprietor Philip Wirth (1864-1937), passed away in 2007, her relatives kindly donated to the Museum a remarkable collection documenting the family's involvement in the business from the 1870s until 1963.

A Fine Possession and solving the mystery of a French pendant

October 8, 2014

Anni Turnbull
Every now and again when working with a Museum’s collection, you will come across an object that was acquired so long ago that little is known about its provenance. There are a few meagre clues to help uncover what you hope will turn out to be an enriching and surprising story, something that shows that this piece is special.

A major jewellery exhibition opens soon at the Powerhouse Museum

September 3, 2014

Eva Czernis-Ryl
This week we start installing this Museum’s most ambitious jewellery exhibition ever. Celebrating the central place of jewellery in cultures from antiquity to now, A fine possession: jewellery and identity will present over 700 pieces of jewellery from Australia, Europe, USA, Asia, Africa and the Pacific which were made and/or worn and collected in Australia.The exhibition opens at the Museum on 24 September.

Fifty Years in the TARDIS: the golden anniversary of Doctor Who

November 23, 2013

Kerrie Dougherty
The weekend of November 23/24, 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the first screening of the iconic British science fiction television series Doctor Who First screened in the UK on November 23, 1963, the adventures of the nameless wandering time traveller and his British police-box-shaped time machine, the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space, if you’ve always wondered what that acronym meant), have been shown in countries around the world and become firmly embedded in global popular culture.

The Opera House industry

October 18, 2013

Charles Pickett
We’ve just installed a small exhibition to mark the fortieth anniversary of Sydney Opera House on 20 October. The anniversary, by the way, is of the official 1973 opening by the Queen, not the first public performance there on the 28 September 1973, an interesting choice of dates.

Mauve, an unexpected discovery

October 2, 2013

Anni Turnbull
Mauveine, the first synthetic organic chemical dye, was discovered serendipitously by William Perkin in 1856. Perkin was 18 and working with Professor August Wilhelm von Hofmann, attempting to synthesise the anti-malaria drug quinine.

‘Playing with Light’, weird drawings and an anamorphic mirror

September 11, 2013

Debbie Rudder
  The excellent 'Playing with Light' exhibition opens at the Powerhouse Museum on 14 September to coincide with Ultimo Science Festival. Developed by Scitech in Perth, the exhibition invites curious visitors of all ages to interact with prisms, lenses, mirrors and colour.

The automaton, early robot or über-puppet?

July 22, 2013

Deborah Turnbull
As one of the three ISEA2013 exhibitions closes this week, I found myself reflecting on the artworks and wondering at the possible connections to our collection.  One of the most unusual works to experience in Synapse | a selection was Kirsty Boyle’s video Ningyo.

Whispering in the basement- Mannequins in museums

July 15, 2013

Anni Turnbull
This image above is from a series by Museum photographer, Geoff Friend capturing the secret world of mannequins. Sometimes when venturing into the basement or workshop areas, particularly late in the afternoon I feel I have interrupted murmurings between mannequins.

Refugee Week 2013 – What’s the big deal?

June 21, 2013

Melanie Pitkin
Refugee Week (Sunday 16 June - Saturday 22nd June, 2013) is "Australia's peak annual activity to raise awareness about the issues affecting refugees and celebrate the positive contributions made by refugees to Australian society" (Refugee Week official website).