Inside the Collection

Powerhouse steams ahead

Portable Steam Engine made by Ransomes Sims and Jefferies
Powerhouse Museum Collection.

The Museum’s steam engines – including this handsome portable made by Ransomes Sims and Jefferies – have recently sprung to life, after 14 months in suspended animation due to the loss of a key staff member and a government freeze on new appointments. Now, thanks to the diligence of our Conservation Manager and the support of our Director, we have two keen young engine drivers running the engines. Visitors are energised and enthused by seeing the engines in motion, and there is more discussion than usual about engines, energy and history taking place between visitors, volunteers and staff. A monthly schedule of steaming days will be posted on our website soon.

We recently posted some great video of engines on our Steam Revolution web page. While watching the engines on screen is not as wonderful an experience as seeing them up close, we have captured some novel views of the engines to make the videos special.

If you want a different steam experience, Maitland Steamfest on 9-10 April will feature steam locomotives (including our own 3265) on the railway tracks, traction engines on the Rally Ground, and a range of activities around town. The Powerhouse marquee will feature a selection of objects from our Hornby model collection, the six winning images from our 2011 Trainspotting photography competition, a show in which Cogs the Robot explains how a steam engine works (with the help of children from the audience), a mystery object competition and a series of talks.

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