Inside the Collection


Cleopatra’s Needle or ‘Thornton’s Scent Bottle’

June 13, 2012

Geoff Barker
This photograph was taken from George Street, Sydney and looks up Bathurst Street. At the very end, where it joins Elizabeth Street and Hyde Park, the single most obvious feature of the photograph can still be seen today.

Photographing the 1874 Transit of Venus

June 6, 2012

Geoff Barker
The Transit of Venus on 6 June 2012 is the latest occurrence of an event that has shaped the scientific history of Australia. Captain Cook’s expedition to observe the 1769 transit in Tahiti led to the European settlement of Australia.

Steamfest 2012 Mystery Object Revealed

April 30, 2012

Margaret Simpson
Would you have guessed the mystery rail object on display in the Museum’s marquee at Steamfest this year? Visitors to this event held in Maitland, NSW, over the weekend of 28/29th April were encouraged to have a go.

Australian Pictorial Postcards

February 29, 2012

Geoff Barker
'In these degenerate days of postcards and typewriters letter writing has become for many almost a lost art and Lord Chesterfield’s ‘Letters to His Son’ would probably nowadays be dictated to a shorthand writer transcribed on a billboard and sent through the post …' The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 January 1895.

Freeman Brothers Studio – Large Format Photographs

December 14, 2011

Geoff Barker
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.

Steamfest 2011 Mystery Object Revealed

April 15, 2011

Margaret Simpson
Would you have guessed the mystery rail object on display in the Museum’s marquee at Steamfest this year? Visitors to this event held in Maitland over the weekend of 9/10th April were encouraged to have a go.

Dahl and Geoffrey Collings and Moholy- Nagy

January 4, 2011

Anni Turnbull
This is the third our series based on the cataloguing of 2007/30/1, the archive of Dahl and Geoffrey Collings, specifically on the Christmas and New Year’s cards sent to them by family, friends and professional colleagues.

Mystery object

September 29, 2010

Debbie Rudder
This week's mystery object had me guessing. It is quite striking at 600 mm tall, with a timber drum, curved ironwork and highly ornate gilt maker's plate. Is it a: a) machine for making gear wheels for clocks b) machine for cleaning knives c) portable darkroom for developing rolls of film d) portable agitator-type washing machine

Mystery Object (go on…have a guess)

September 6, 2010

Erika Taylor
This week's mystery object is one of my favourite objects from our collection. It is about 10cm in diameter and quite solid. Is it...? a) a hairball from the stomach of a bull b) an early golfball carved from stone c) a fossilised coconut d) an early croquet ball made from resin The answer will be posted on Friday!

Celebrating History Week (4-12 September)

September 3, 2010

Anni Turnbull
To celebrate the 2010 History Week theme of ‘Faces in the street’, I have decided to look at some of the methods used to record peoples' faces — from celebrities to lesser known identities — before the era of Facebook and Flickr.

Mystery Object

July 19, 2010

Erika Taylor
This week's mystery object has a 25 cm steel shaft and a wooden handle on one end. Is it? a) a device for removing tulip bulbs from the ground b) a device to remove teeth c) a key to a safety box (circa 1800s) Give it your best shot in the comments!

Mystery object- archaeology

May 21, 2010

Melanie Pitkin
It's only fitting that during National Archaeology Week we should have, as our mystery object, an actual archaeological find. This artefact is made of kaolin and it measures 36mm length x 20mm width.