Inside the Collection

Sydney

Shirley Martin: Australian industrial designer

July 29, 2015

Anne-Marie Van de Ven
Shirley Martin was a female industrial designer based in Sydney who had a long and illustrious career as a post-WWII Australian textile and ceramic designer. She is best known for designing the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games towel, but there is much more to her remarkable design industry success story.

The Aesthetics of Prosthetics: a Brief History

July 15, 2015

Damian McDonald
The objects discussed in this post are currently on display in the exhibition Design for Life, 26 September 2020–31 January 2021.   On Wednesday, 15 July 2015, museums around the world are sharing #DisabilityStories found in their collections.

Wirth’s Circus hits the road

April 8, 2015

Peter Cox
The Circus Factory exhibition includes costumes, photographs and documents from the Museum's Wirth's Circus collection. The Wirth name has a special place in Australian circus folklore. Billed as Australia's own 'Greatest Show on Earth', Wirth's Circus toured from 1880 until its demise in 1963.

The need for speed: saving the Speedo collection

February 9, 2015

Glynis Jones
Once proudly known as the great Aussie cossie, Speedo swimwear occupies an important place in Australia’s sporting and manufacturing heritage. From the company’s beginnings in the 1920s, its aim was to excel in the manufacture of competitive swimwear.

The Queen’s 1954 Royal Tour of Australia – a rare surviving memento

January 14, 2015

Margaret Simpson
Many of the objects which come into the Museum have great stories. One of the most delightful over the last few months was the acquisition of this very rare fabric-covered railway timetable. It was used in the Museum's superb 1901 Governor-General's railway carriage in which Queen Elizabeth II travelled to parts of New South Wales during her 1954 Royal Tour of Australia.

The Wirth brothers — from band to circus

December 22, 2014

Peter Cox
After leaving Ridge's Royal Tycoon Circus in 1880 the Wirth brothers established themselves as the Star Troupe of Varieties. With just six artists, including Japanese acrobats and a German comedian, they assembled a program of acrobatics, clowning, contortion, spinning hats, boxing and comic songs.

World AIDS Day 2014

December 1, 2014

Anni Turnbull
“Unless we tell their stories, they are not there.”* Since it began on 1 December 1988, World AIDS Day has put strong focus on the global fight to remove the threat of HIV and AIDS. First diagnosed in 1981, the HIV and  AIDS epidemic remains one of the most significant public health issues, particularly in less affluent countries.

LES WELCH (1925–2014)

November 1, 2014

Peter Cox
As a bandleader, singer and musician in the late 1940s and 1950s, Les Welch brought the sounds of popular jazz and blues to Sydney’s dancehalls and nightclubs. He developed a reputation for his piano playing, his vocal style and a repertoire that mixed rhythm & blues, trad jazz, boogie-woogie and pop.

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.

Science Week 2014: Super Sopper and super fun at Castle Hill

August 11, 2014

Debbie Rudder
  The Powerhouse Discovery Centre will celebrate Science Week with lots of activities on the weekend of 16-17 August. Our example of the Super Sopper, an Australian innovation that has been removing excess water from sports fields for forty years, is one of many objects that will star in behind-the-scenes tours.

Prize pool

July 30, 2014

Charles Pickett
A lot of people were pleased when Prince Alfred Park swimming pool starred at the recent 2014 NSW architecture awards. As well as the prize gong, the Sulman Medal for public architecture, the new pool received the Lloyd Rees Award for urban design.