Inside the Collection

Tag: space and beyond

The Aesthetics of Prosthetics: a Brief History

July 15, 2015

Damian McDonald
On Wednesday, 15 July 2015, museums around the world are sharing #DisabilityStories found in their collections. We're joining the conversation with this post by MAAS Curator, Damian McDonald, who details the technologies used in prosthetics in our collection: The use of prosthetics dates back to at least 300 BCE, the date of a Roman bronze leg that was excavated from a grave in Capua, Italy.

Ice Bird – the unsinkable boat

October 27, 2014

Kate Chidlow
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.

Sex and Museums: uncovering a tool of delight

September 15, 2014

Damian McDonald
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.

Utility and beauty through science

January 22, 2014

Deborah Turnbull
Do you know what a heliostat is? As with most scientific instruments, I had my educated guesses but didn’t know for sure. Luckily my colleagues are Matthew Connell and Nick Lomb and they can assist me in understanding my curiosities.

Feeling the vibe with a Frahm tachometer

July 8, 2013

Debbie Rudder
This rugged hand-held precision instrument is unlike any tachometer I’ve ever seen. It’s more musical than mechanical, and it needs no power source other than the piece of machinery whose speed the user wants to check.

Expedition to establish first Meteorological Observatory Kosciuszko, 1897

February 11, 2013

Geoff Barker
There are numerous ways in which information is added to our collection. One of the most obvious is a result of the work done by staff to update our records but another important source of information comes as a result of the continual enquiries and suggestions from the general public.

You Better Watch Out – NSW Police Random Breath Testing

December 31, 2012

Damian McDonald
This time of year is one of consumable abundance in Australia. We are encouraged to indulge in large quantities of high calorie, highly processed sugar-rich foods; and to consume alcohol. Although a legal and celebrated intoxicant, alcohol is a strong mood altering drug, and consumption levels can be quite difficult to gauge.

Einstein’s Theory of Relativity Proven in Australia, 1922

August 22, 2012

Geoff Barker
In late August 1922 a group of astronomers, naval men, and Aboriginal stockmen began the arduous task of unloading their complicated scientific equipment and stores from boats onto a deserted beach on the coast of Western Australia.

Guns and public opinion

August 20, 2012

Damian McDonald
Firearms are a polarizing issue. The middle ground is a stripped no-man’s-land. The argument against prevalent gun ownership is of course more than ever legitimate. And honest gun ownership, confined to sportspeople, professional shooters and primary producers is provisional; and reasonable.

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.