Inside the Collection


March 16, 2011

Charles Pickett
I love ruins, and I’m not alone in this taste. A fair swag of the world’s most visited tourist sites are ruins: the Forum, the Great Wall, the Pyramids and so on – it’s an impressive list.

Bernard Sahm (1926-2011)

March 14, 2011

Paul Donnelly
Bernard Sahm was a greatly respected potter whose work is represented in all the major galleries of Australia. He trained and practiced as an industrial draughtsman which gave him skills he was to use in his distinctive ceramic output that frequently included drawn and applied detail.

The Trolley man Part 2

March 9, 2011

Charles Pickett
In May 2010 I published a Curatorial blog piece about Josef Cindric and his trolley. Towards the end of his life, Cindric became something of a minor celebrity. Artists photographed and filmed him.

Cool Tartan

March 2, 2011

Lynne McNairn
Recently I stopped to look at a Highland Pipe Band who were playing in the Corso at Manly. It was a hot and sticky Sydney summer day and the heavy tartan kilts looked out of place although the band members were wearing short sleeved shirts and did not have jackets.

Sydney’s last trams

February 25, 2011

Margaret Simpson
Fifty years ago today, on the 25 February 1961, Sydney’s last electric trams operated on the La Perouse and Maroubra Beach lines. The last day of trams is a great date to remember for trivia nights.

Josiah Wedgwood’s colourful chemistry experiments

February 22, 2011

Debbie Rudder
Josiah Wedgwood, who founded the Wedgwood company in 1759, carried out thousands of experiments to determine which chemicals and processes were needed to make porcelain-like ceramics in a range of colours.

Shiga Shigeo (1928-2011)

February 15, 2011

Paul Donnelly
We note with sadness the passing last week of Shiga Shigeo, a great ceramic artist and teacher whose profound influence will doubtless survive through his students to future generations of Australian potters.

Copies and collections

February 14, 2011

Charles Pickett
Erika recently wrote about ‘real vs. fake’ museum objects, using the example of repro fossils as an example. It’s an interesting issue: that museums continue to thrive in the digital age is largely due to their role as repositories of the ‘real’ and ‘authentic’.

My escape from Cairo: Egypt’s Uprising and the National Museum

February 9, 2011

Melanie Pitkin
I have just returned from Cairo after a tumultuous few days caught up in the demonstrations in Egypt. I was meant to be there for 6 weeks undertaking research for my PhD before leading an independent 24-day tour of Egypt, “From Alexandria to Abu Simbel” for Alumni Travel in Sydney.

Oceans, data, and climate change: Sea Robots

February 8, 2011

Erika Taylor
Attention data nerds and science geeks, you will love this object. This is what is known as an Argo float (I prefer the term sea robot), the picture doesn’t give you a sense of scale but the whole unit is about 6 feet tall.

Real vs Fake: Museum objects

February 3, 2011

Erika Taylor
Whilst working on the new ‘Ecologic: creating a sustainable future’ exhibition, we were looking for objects to help us tell the story of climate change, and more specifically talk about the fossil record.

Old objects new ideas: volcanoes and climate change

February 1, 2011

Erika Taylor
This inconspicuous lump of rock is actually a piece of lava from Mt. Vesuvius, Italy. It is one of the Museum’s earliest collected objects, having been purchased in 1886 in New York. It was probably no more that a curiosity back then, yet it has been incredibly valuable for us to use in discussing contemporary issues.