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Meet the curator – Margaret Simpson

April 22, 2009

Photography by Sotha Bourn © Powerhouse Museum all rights reserved

My specialty area is the transport collection – I’ve researched everything from a steam car to a tram hearse, luxurious railway carriages to a shearer’s bicycle.

Career of a Powerhouse Museum Curator

January 13, 2021

A young woman wearing a kilt is looking at the photographer and stands next to a steam wagon. The steam wagon, which is surrounded by clouds of steam, is standing on a concrete pavement outside a workshop. A steam wagon is a self-propelled steam-powered truck with a timber tip tray. The side of the steam wagon has the wording 'Municipality of Rockdale' for whom the wagon was built and the front has the manufacturer's name, 'Aveling & Porter'. A man with a long beard is standing on the other side of the wagon looking at the wagon's steam engine. How do you condense a lifetime's dream job as a curator at Sydney's Powerhouse Museum into around 1,000 words? Well, my career at the Museum began on 1 February 1983 as a Research Assistant with the Department of Transport and Engineering when the Powerhouse was still a construction site.

Ask a Curator Day 2019

September 17, 2019

Schedule graphic for Ask a Curator Day. Black text on a blue background with an image of a model Lunar Lander on the right. The text reads: Ask a Curator Day at MAAS / Wednesday 18 September, 10am-5pm / 10-11 Amelia & Alex (Visitor Services, Education); 11-12 Roger & Kristina (Fashion); 12-1 Nina (Science and Technology); 1-2 Bronwyn & Paul (Conservation, Archives); 2-3 Sarah & Andrew (Sydney Observatory); 3-4 Vanessa & Min (Asian Arts and Design); 4-5 Anni & Campbell (Social History, Design) / Join the conversation on Twitter @maasmuseum #askacurator The Museum staff have a huge job caring for our enormous collection of over 500,000 objects. Our team includes experts in a vast range of areas, including: fashion, health and medicine, architecture, engineering, sciences, design, decorative arts, technologies and contemporary culture.

Remembering Sydney’s Royal Easter Show

April 9, 2019

This doll tableau comprises an underwater cave with reclining ceramic mermaid with long peal necklace surrounded by marine props including a ceramic starfish and turtle, plastic skeleton and jewel-filled treasure chest. The tableau is made of various materials including beadwork, shells, plastic and pipe cleaners. The tableau is mounted on particle board. It has a blue ribbon If you grew up in Sydney in the 1950s or 1960s, going to the Royal Agricultural Society's Show at the old Moore Park Showground was as important as Christmas and your birthday, and much anticipated for weeks before.

Remembering Australian summer holidays

January 2, 2019

A staged colour photograph taken in the 1970s for advertising featuring seven young men wearing board shorts. The man in the centre is holding a young woman with blond hair and wearing a bikini. The beach has always been the ultimate destination for summer holidays whether it was just a few kilometres away or a long car trip. Back in the 1960s cars weren't as reliable as today. Even for a relatively short drive you'd stop off at the service station to have the oil, water and tyres checked and to pick up maps.

Toys and games from the 1980s

December 26, 2018

The two Barbie dolls' costumes consist of a pink 'Rockers' T-shirt, one doll has a pink mini-skirt and tan leggings; the other has a pink jacket and pants ensemble. The styling is indicative of the mid 1980s. The Ken doll's costume is a silver long jacket and pants ensemble with a silver 'Rockers' T-shirt, and silver shoes. Was your childhood spent in the 1980s? Then the names Puggle, He Man, Fabuland, Battle Cat and Teddy Ruxpin will ring a few bells this Christmas. Fantasy toys were an element of the 1980s. The super-hero toys He-Man and his and his faithful steed, Battle Cat, were media merchandising from the Masters of the Universe (MOTU) film, cartoon and comic series.

Remembering School Projectors and Filmstrips

November 14, 2018

Photograph of a very small country school built of weatherboards with a verandah at the front and concrete area at the side for assemblies. Hands up if you remember those old black and white strip films shown in Social Studies lessons at school? The 'blind monitor' would pull down the tall window blinds darkening the classroom, and a screen, usually in front of the blackboard, would be brought down.

Ask a Curator Day 2018

September 11, 2018

Graphic of MAAS Ask a Curator Day schedule The Museum staff have a huge job caring for our enormous collection of over 500,000 objects. Our team includes experts in a vast range of areas, including: fashion, health and medicine, architecture, engineering, sciences, design, decorative arts, technologies and contemporary culture.

Industrial Revolution in Australia – impact on manufacturing in the 1800s

August 29, 2018

A steam engine with a large flywheel on display in the Powerhouse Museum When we think of the Industrial Revolution in Britain with its steam engines powering machines, the mass production of goods, thousands of poor farming families leaving the countryside to work in 'satanic' mills and factories and the rise of the wealthy middle class, it's hard to see how this could be applied to Australia.

The 1950s Australian Dream – Holdens, Victas and Mixmasters

August 22, 2018

Advertising brochure for the 48/215 Holden (FX). After the hardship and deprivation of the 1930s and the anxiety and rationing of the 1940s, Australia experienced great optimism, growth and prosperity in the 1950s. During this decade three Australian-made products were manufactured which became icons in our cultural history, Holden cars, Victa lawnmowers and Sunbeam Mixmasters.

Present and Past Family Life – Toilets

July 18, 2018

Wooden toy farm house, windmill, wishing well, duck pond and outside toilet with lead farm animals and farmer. Lav, privy, loo, thunderbox, WC, outhouse, toot, throne, restroom, powder room, washroom, john, kharsi, bog, comfort station, and even twinkle-palace, are just some of the euphemisms used for toilets.