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What's On:

Clay Dynasty

11 October 2021 – 29 January 2023

Major exhibition to chart the diversity of studio ceramics in Australia - a collaboration with Aileen Sage Architects, AX Interactive, supported by Brickworks.

Graphic Identities

11 October 2021 – 26 June 2022

Ground-breaking Australian design archives from the Powerhouse collection feature, advertising, publishing, fine art and textiles, with riso-printing workshops.
Closed event

Research Symposium: Objects on Display

Finished 25 February 2016
Powerhouse Museum

The Objects on Display: Disrupting Tradition symposium brings together museum professionals with an interest in display to provoke discussion, share ideas, and practice about the ways in which collecting institutions are attending to audience expectations, museological innovation, and changes in approach to conservation of cultural collections.

New approaches towards interpretation, display, ‘use’ of and access to collections and the increasing importance of public outreach can result in challenging conservation and display demands. Is the concept of authenticity as a criterion used for conservation practice in urgent need of re-evaluation? New initiatives in this area will be discussed.

Join the conversation! Use the hashtag #MAASsymp

A range of speakers will address curatorial and conservation practice, and the physical and digital dimensions of this topic.


9.00am Registration
9.15am Welcome & Introduction Dolla Merrillees, MAAS Director (acting)
9.30am Open Display: Audience and Objects Jonathan London, Head of Conservation, MAAS
9.50am When the Circus Came to Djamu John Kirkman, Executive Director, Information + Cultural Exchange (ICE)
10.10am Museum as Medium: Three Propositions Katie Dyer, Curator Contemporary, MAAS
10.30am Morning Tea
11.00am Disrupting Tradition: Artist Interventions in Museum Display Jacqueline Millner, Associate Dean, Research, Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney
11.20am Showing all the Things Seb Chan, Chief Experience Officer, Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI)
11.40am Discussion, Q&A
12.30pm Finish


Jonathan London, MAAS, will explore the desire to reduce barriers between objects on display and the audience, and issues relating to object conservation and survival.

John Kirkman, ICE, will discuss ‘maverick’ display at djamu Gallery, Australian Museum at Customs House (1998-2000).

Katie Dyer, MAAS, states that museums preserve objects, but equally they can preserve knowledge, traditions and techniques beyond the tangible. She asks – what are some contemporary vantage points we can employ to revise and conserve the past in order to think about museums as more than ‘Wunderkammers’?

Dr Jacqueline Millner, University of Sydney, will look at a range of Australian artists working within social history and natural science museums, and the impact of their interventions on museum display.

Seb Chan, ACMI, will explore what happens when museums begin to give their digitised objects the same exhibition status as physical objects, and what this means for born digital objects who have no physical state.

The third in the MAAS Professional Series, this symposium aims to foster an open and creative dialogue between museum professionals, providing the opportunity to network, share information and develop a collaborative approach to addressing important issues facing the museum sector.

For enquiries, please contact Sharon Dickson, +61 (02) 9217 0192 or

Installation view of Evidence: Brook Andrew, MAAS, 2015
Installation view of Evidence: Brook Andrew, MAAS, 2015