Inside the Collection

Collection stories

Maccaferri plastic guitar

June 17, 2009

Michael Lee
As I mentioned this is another of my favourite things in the collection. It was bought by the museum from Maccaferri’s plastics company in the USA in the 1950s as an example of what you could do with plastic, and it doesn’t sound too bad as an instrument either.

The Traeger Pedal

June 10, 2009

Erika Taylor
Imagine, you're at the weekly pub trivia quiz, it's the final round and you need 2 points to win. Question 1. Which Australian Icon appears on the back of the Australian $20 note? a tough one! but some may know that it's the Reverend John Flynn, who started the world's first air ambulance service, The Royal Flying Doctors.

Matthew Boulton and the Imperial Bank Mint in St Petersburg

June 3, 2009

Debbie Rudder
At first glance, this drawing shows an old building holding a steam engine and other machinery. Then the eye focuses on the figures, men in formal eighteenth century Russian dress; perhaps they are there to provide scale, or to suggest that this is an important building holding important machinery.

Spinning around – The Garrard 301

May 27, 2009

Campbell Bickerstaff
One of the reasons there is a paucity of ‘ultra fidelity’ components in the Museums collection is that their build quality is extraordinarily high and so they continue to be sought after by users and collectors.

Sydney Observatory Star Camera

May 20, 2009

Geoff Barker
I think one of the most underrated curatorial skills is the ability to remain engaged in your current research while at the same time making mental notes of everything that wanders across your field of vision.

The first Atlantic submarine telegraph cable

May 13, 2009

Matthew Connell
If you’re reading this then you are more than likely sitting at your computer using the internet, or if you’re one of the ‘cool kids’, and technologically savvy, then you may be reading it from your iphone on the bus.

Sweat, Lies and Heart-rates

May 6, 2009

Damian McDonald
One of the coolest objects I have acquired for the Health and Medicine collection is the Grass 7D polygraph machine. A common deus ex machina devise for Hollywood script writers – Polygraph machines, or ‘lie detectors’ are one of those objects that are so embedded in the public consciousness by popular culture that to see an actual example ignites curiosity.

Mystery Object – The ‘Earoscope’

April 29, 2009

Erika Taylor
The curatorial team here at the Museum are the keepers to an immense amount of knowledge, covering a wide variety of special areas. If you have a question, chances are someone here can write you a novel on the subject.

Mawson’s Antarctic Sledge

April 22, 2009

Margaret Simpson
Several of my most favourite objects at the Powerhouse Museum are the five sledges used on Mawson’s and Scott’s Antarctic expeditions in the early 20th century. Hardly anyone knows we’ve got them.

The Prawn Bike

March 31, 2009

Erika Taylor
This bike-riding prawn is one of my favourite things in the Museum’s collection. I both love it, and am deeply suspicious of it. The costume and bike were used in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony and are part of a large number of Olympic costumes we have in our collection.

Welcome to the new curatorial blog!

March 30, 2009

Erika Taylor
Ever wondered what happens to things in museums when they aren’t on display? Ever wanted to visit a museum’s basement? Ever wondered what curators get up to down there? Well here's your chance to find out!