Inside the Collection

30 Years on Orbit

April 30, 2011

Kerrie Dougherty
In my blog post on April 12, to mark the 50th anniversary of the first person in space, I referred to the fact that that same date was also the anniversary of the first flight of the US Space Transportation System, generally known as the Space Shuttle.

Hair in Museums

April 28, 2011

Anni Turnbull
Why does hair appear in the most unlikely places? Like this man's shirt from the Cameroons. Or worked into this unique needle lace panel from the 1600s. That hair has been readily available as a material is one answer.

Steamfest 2011 Mystery Object Revealed

April 15, 2011

Margaret Simpson
Would you have guessed the mystery rail object on display in the Museum’s marquee at Steamfest this year? Visitors to this event held in Maitland over the weekend of 9/10th April were encouraged to have a go.

Meet the curator- Rebecca Bower

April 14, 2011

Rebecca Bower
Name: Rebecca Bower What is your specialty area? Like many curators at the Powerhouse I studied archaeology, having wanted to be an Egyptologist since I was a little girl. It was pure coincidence that my first year at university was soon after Raiders of the Lost Ark came out.

Marie Curie and the radioactive challenge

April 13, 2011

Debbie Rudder
Why is 2011 the International Year of Chemistry? To celebrate the achievements of chemists, inspire people with chemical ideas – and to mark the centenary of Marie Curie's Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

Yuri’s Day-celebrating human spaceflight

April 12, 2011

Kerrie Dougherty
Fifty years ago today, on April 12, 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was launched into orbit, becoming the first person in space. In the Cold War climate of the times, this event was not only a major technological and scientific achievement, but also a tremendous propaganda victory for the Soviet Union in the Space Race with the United States.

We are off to Steamfest 2011 with Hornby toy trains

April 7, 2011

Margaret Simpson
Powerhouse staff members are again off to Maitland, in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales, this weekend to contribute to one of Australia’s most well-known heritage steam events, Steamfest. Each year a theme is selected and a group of objects chosen by a curator to take up for a special display in the Powerhouse marquee.

Powerhouse steams ahead

April 1, 2011

Debbie Rudder
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.

Inspired by an Incinerator

March 30, 2011

Anni Turnbull
Well not just any incinerator. The Pyrmont incinerator was rather special, it was one designed by Walter Burley Griffin (1876-1937) in 1935. Memorable on the Pyrmont skyline for fifty years the incinerator or reverberator has inspired responses from a variety of artists even after its removal from the landscape.

Matcham Skipper (1921-2011)

March 24, 2011

Eva Czernis-Ryl
A legend of Melbourne’s bohemian world of the post war decades, Matcham Skipper was a sculptor and jeweller with passion for both the art of metal and unconventional lifestyle. As a jeweller, Skipper was mostly self-taught, drawn to experimenting with silver and gold ‘because of their sensual, ductile qualities’.

The Bunsen burner and the periodic table

March 21, 2011

Debbie Rudder
Most of us are familiar with the Bunsen burner from our high schools days. I hope that mention of it brings a flood of pleasant (if sometimes smelly) memories. One of these memories should be the definition of an element, an idea that is central to the science of chemistry: a pure substance that can't be broken down into simpler substances.