Inside the Collection

Science

On loan from the Smithsonian

November 10, 2009

Kerrie Dougherty
Curators at the Powerhouse not only research information about the artefacts in our own collection, from time to time we assist external colleagues with their object research as well. Satellite propulsion engineer Alan Lawrie, author of histories of the Saturn V and Saturn I rockets, contacted the museum seeking information about the F-1 rocket motor in the Space exhibition.

Early solar car

October 27, 2009

Margaret Simpson
Solar car racing is not new. The Powerhouse Museum has one of the cars that competed in the world’s first transcontinental solar car race, then called the Pentax World Solar Challenge, in 1987. Ours, dubbed Solar Resource, was designed and built by a small team of Sydney engineers headed by Ian Landon Smith in the garage of a North Shore home.

Skylab debris

October 9, 2009

Kerrie Dougherty
With all the media attention focussed on the Apollo 11 Moon landing 40th anniversary, another space anniversary of particular interest to Australia passed un-noticed in July. Thirty years ago, in the early hours of July 12, 1979, the United States’ first space station, Skylab, re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere and broke up scattering debris across the southern Indian Ocean and the south-eastern part of Western Australia.

Death in the Museum- part one- green burials

September 15, 2009

Erika Taylor
I am in the middle of acquiring a coffin, and not just any coffin, one that is environmentally friendly. This LifeArt coffin is not only spectacular looking, it is also made from almost 100% recycled materials, and will break down easily once in the ground.

Apollo at 40: celebrating the first Moon landing

July 20, 2009

Kerrie Dougherty
Photo courtesy of NASA Forty years ago, on July 21, 1969, American astronaut Neil Armstrong, commander of the Apollo 11 Moon mission, became the first person to set foot on another world. This historic spaceflight marked the culmination of the so-called “Space Race”, one of the major Cold War propaganda battles between the United States and the USSR, which began in 1957, when the Soviet Union shocked the world by launching the first satellite, Sputnik 1.

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.

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.