Inside the Collection

Meet the curator- Melanie Pitkin

Portrait of curator Melanie Pitkin
Photography by Sotha Bourn © Powerhouse Museum all rights reserved

Melanie Pitkin

What is your speciality area?
My academic background is in Ancient History and Egyptology so my main specialty area is actually Old Kingdom and First Intermediate Period history. But, at the Museum I work mostly with our Australian and International arts and design collection – which spans everything from furniture, fashion, textiles and graphic design to archaeology, glass, ceramics and jewellery. I also dabble in the work of the aviation pioneer Lawrence Hargrave.

How long have you been working at the Museum?
Since 2006. But, before joining the Museum full-time, I volunteered with Anne Watson, former Curator of Architecture and Design.

What is your favourite object in the collection?
Well, there are a few. I love haute couture and the Museum’s fashion collection, especially the Balenciaga evening dress. For obvious reasons, I’m also attached to our small and select archaeology collection including our Egyptian ushabtis figures, Greek amphora vase and collection of daily life objects from Medieval and Roman Britain. I must also add the Thomas Hope Egyptian Revival suite and Tejo Remy’s chest of drawers made by Droog. Actually, you better watch this space – my list seems to grow daily!

What piece of research or exhibition are you most proud of in your career at the Museum?
Without a doubt, this would have to be the Faith, fashion, fusion: Muslim women’s style in Australia exhibition. This exhibition showcased at the Powerhouse Museum from May 2012 until July 2013 and is now travelling around Australia. It was, and continues to be, a terrific experience working with Australia’s dynamic Muslim community; showcasing our local talent in the emerging modest fashion industry and capturing peoples’ rich and varied personal stories.

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