What is this block of marble? a geiger counter? what does it have to do with the Sydney Harbour Bridge? Well, it is in fact a microphone! and the very same microphone used at the official opening ceremony of the Sydney Harbour Bridge on 19 March 1932.
Inside the Collection
- Collection & Research
- Inside the Collection
- Collection Resources
- MAAS Blogs
As I mentioned this is another of my favourite things in the collection. It was bought by the museum from Maccaferri’s plastics company in the USA in the 1950s as an example of what you could do with plastic, and it doesn’t sound too bad as an instrument either.
Imagine, you're at the weekly pub trivia quiz, it's the final round and you need 2 points to win. Question 1. Which Australian Icon appears on the back of the Australian $20 note? a tough one! but some may know that it's the Reverend John Flynn, who started the world's first air ambulance service, The Royal Flying Doctors.
At first glance, this drawing shows an old building holding a steam engine and other machinery. Then the eye focuses on the figures, men in formal eighteenth century Russian dress; perhaps they are there to provide scale, or to suggest that this is an important building holding important machinery.
One of the reasons there is a paucity of ‘ultra fidelity’ components in the Museums collection is that their build quality is extraordinarily high and so they continue to be sought after by users and collectors.
I think one of the most underrated curatorial skills is the ability to remain engaged in your current research while at the same time making mental notes of everything that wanders across your field of vision.
If you’re reading this then you are more than likely sitting at your computer using the internet, or if you’re one of the ‘cool kids’, and technologically savvy, then you may be reading it from your iphone on the bus.
One of the coolest objects I have acquired for the Health and Medicine collection is the Grass 7D polygraph machine. A common deus ex machina devise for Hollywood script writers – Polygraph machines, or ‘lie detectors’ are one of those objects that are so embedded in the public consciousness by popular culture that to see an actual example ignites curiosity.
Several of my most favourite objects at the Powerhouse Museum are the five sledges used on Mawson’s and Scott’s Antarctic expeditions in the early 20th century. Hardly anyone knows we’ve got them.
Recently I was invited to visit the studio of Australian artist and filmmaker, George Gittoes to inspect his collection of Yellow House Puppet Theatre puppets paintings, ceramics and etchings. Today Gittoes is an internationally renowned filmmaker, but in the Sixties, he was a co-founder of the Yellow House, one of the most colourful contributions to the hippy/psychedelic era in Australia during the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Today it is hard to imagine that the now-ubiquitous tubular-steel style of furniture was once at the fore-front of modern design. In the mid 1920s tubular steel furniture had developed from purely utilitarian use in hospitals and transport to the domestic environment.
This bike-riding prawn is one of my favourite things in the Museum’s collection. I both love it, and am deeply suspicious of it. The costume and bike were used in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony and are part of a large number of Olympic costumes we have in our collection.