Inside the Collection

Cities Reborn

July 13, 2011

Charles Pickett
There's been some comment lately about the fact that for the first time, more than half of the human race lives in cities. At the same time, cities are being seen again in a generally positive light.

Evolution of a 1950s fashion model

July 6, 2011

Anne-Marie Van de Ven
Discovering the many aspects of one woman’s career was one of the most interesting aspects of my 20 day internship at the Powerhouse Museum. Under the supervision of Curator Anne-Marie Van de Ven I’ve just finished cataloguing the Janice Wakely modelling and photography archive.

Jenny Kee, Chanel, ‘Princess Di’ (and a passing reference to David Bowie)

July 1, 2011

Glynis Jones
Anyone who has read Jenny Kee's fascinating biography A Big Life Jenny Kee (Jenny Kee with Samantha Trenoweth, Penguin Group, 2006) will appreciate how apt the title is. From modelling as the face of Canadian Pacific Airlines and spending a memorable night with John Lennon during the Beatles Australian tour in 1964 to selling vintage Schiaparelli jackets to Mick Jagger at the Chelsea Antique market in London, surviving the Granville train disaster in 1977 and campaigning for the conservation of NSW old growth forests Jenny’s adventurous spirit and creativity has seen her involved in many of the key social movements and events of the last fifty years.

Coal tar, carbon chemistry and colourful dyes

June 27, 2011

Debbie Rudder
The periodic table is the ultimate scientific infographic: very neat and highly informative, it summarises large amounts of information and it’s packed with ideas. Crucially, it helped chemists predict the properties of elements and compounds that were unknown when the table was created.

Unveiling a medicine chest

June 23, 2011

Anni Turnbull
Hi, my name is Alison and I'm spending ten weeks at the Powerhouse as a museum studies intern. It is the final unit in my postgraduate course, and it's a fantastic placement. Not only do I get to work in an institution with an important collection, I also get to work with a really interesting object – a medicine chest.

Meet the curator- Charles Pickett

June 16, 2011

Melanie Pitkin
If you are a regular reader of 'Object of the Week', you would know that Charles is one of our best contributors. I thought it was about time we 'met' Charles in one of our inimitable 6x6 style interviews!

The pleasures and sorrows of objects – part 1

June 13, 2011

Melanie Pitkin
To bide some time in the airport recently, I started to read Alain de Botton’s The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work (for which the title of this blog post gets its inspiration). Like a number of de Botton’s works I have read previously, I’m always captivated by his alternative ways of seeing.

Aesthetics, sensuality and the visual image

June 8, 2011

Anne-Marie Van de Ven
It is an interesting analysis to see how the male form is conceived aesthetically within two very different contexts and mediums. The seventeenth century painter Guido Reni, and the Italian-Australian fashion photographer, Bruno Benini, were very different individuals.

World Environment Day, the changing nature of protest

June 5, 2011

Anni Turnbull
The theme for World Environment Day (WED) in 2011 is 'Forests: nature at your service'. Over the last forty years there have been many protests in Australia on a wide variety of issues. Significant among them is preserving forests for now and the future.

Don’t renovate, detonate!

June 3, 2011

Charles Pickett
You might have seen in Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald a piece about the Knock Down Rebuild (KDR) phenomenon. Across Sydney’s middle-ring suburbs – from Strathfield to Granville, Earlwood to Hurstville, Manly to Avalon - old timber, fibro and brick cottages are being purchased for ‘land value’, demolished and replaced with new homes.

Stuff curators get sent

June 2, 2011

Erika Taylor
Continuing from my “stuff you find on a curator’s desk” theme, here is a cute example of “stuff curators get sent”! We loved Charlie’s letter and the astonishing find from his paleontology dig.

The colour of a wedding dress

June 1, 2011

Anni Turnbull
Eagerly anticipated, the Australian Dress Register (ADR) went live on 21 March 2011. To date only contributors have had access to the pilot database; now it’s fascinating content is available to the wider community.