This post was written by Chloe Appleby, a Curatorial Volunteer working under the supervision of Curator Margaret Simpson throughout 2017 and 2018. Chloe also works as a Program Producer and Visitor Services Officer at MAAS's Powerhouse site in Ultimo and the Museums Discovery Centre in Castle Hill.
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The MAAS collection contains an estimated 500 000 objects. These objects are routinely moved around the Museum as they are taken on and off display, undergo conservation work, are photographed for publications, or even loaned to other museums and institutions across Australia and internationally.
The Museum staff have a huge job caring for our enormous collection of over 500,000 objects. Our team includes experts in a vast range of areas, including: fashion, health and medicine, architecture, engineering, sciences, design, decorative arts, technologies and contemporary culture.
Sometimes luminaries in popular culture are called 'legends'. A legend is a story that has been handed down and is popularly regarded as historical but not authenticated. The legend of Annette Kellerman goes like this -- born in Marrickville, she recovered from polio as a child, invented the one-piece swimsuit, was arrested in Boston for wearing it and became a Hollywood movie star.
Japanese Folds (16 May-21 June 2015) is a playful exhibition showing contemporary fashion items and decorative arts from the Museum’s collection centred on the Japanese practice of folding. The exhibition provides an insight into the folding design concept with a focus on the way contemporary Japanese designers have adapted and incorporated traditional folding practices into their work.
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.
Each year since 1977 International Museums Day (18 May) has celebrated and explored an aspect of Museum work. The multiple connections inherent in these figures make them ideal ambassadors for this year’s theme – ‘Museum collections make connections!
In a speech to a Federation Conference banquet in 1890, Henry Parkes coined the term crimson thread of kinship to describe the ties that bound the Australian colonies. The reference was to shared Anglo-Celtic bloodlines, to the exclusion of Indigenous, Asian and other contributors to nation-building and the nation’s gene pool.
A few years back I was interviewed about the fate of Sydney’s neon advertising signs: 'The great age of neon has passed,' laments Charles Pickett, a curator of design and society at the Powerhouse Museum, an institution that houses the AWA sign that once sat atop the eponymous1930s skyscraper, and a red neon greyhound removed recently from Wentworth Park Raceway.
Artist David Griggs reaches into the elements of popular and street culture, horror movies and the street sport of skate boarding. His art sources its inspiration from contemporary images and materials.
Lawn bowls is one of Australia's most popular sports, It has seen several transformations in its history. Beginning as an occasional public house sport, it was a leisure activity for the male elite in the nineteenth century, then a mass sport for men and women after the Second World War and now appeals to a much younger age group.
Behind the scenes at the Powerhouse, a team of people has been chipping away at a coalface. They are mining the collection. As part of a TAM (Total Asset Management) project, they are digitising early acquisition records to make sure the collection database contains a record of every item collected since the beginning of the Museum in 1882.