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1001 Remarkable Objects From The Powerhouse Collection

April 4, 2023

Image: Itandard ‘Supreme’ mousetrap making machine by AW Standfield and Co, Mascot, NSW, 1925-2000. Image: Anthony Potter.


Powerhouse today announced 1001 Remarkable Objects, a new exhibition opening 26 August 2023, led by Leo Schofield AM.    

“Our vision for 1001 Remarkable Objects was a seemingly simple one: to create an exhibition celebrating the sheer scale, breadth, and relevance of the Powerhouse collection. But how to choose? We rejected the nomenclature of ‘treasures’ or ‘masterpieces’ and instead determined all choices must be in some way ‘remarkable’ – whether by virtue of rarity, visual appeal, social history or an ability to invoke wonder. The result is a cornucopia of eras, styles, form, function, size and colour, to stoke memories that so many have of this iconic institution and signal the beginning of a new phase in its marvellous existence,” said curatorium chair Leo Schofield AM.

Leo Schofield AM has a long association with the Powerhouse, as a member of the Board of Trustees and a significant donor. He has worked in collaboration with advisors Ronan Sulich, Mark Sutcliffe and Powerhouse curator Eva Czernis-Ryl to select 1001 objects from the 500,000 objects within the collection. This selection will include objects that have never been exhibited before alongside much loved collection icons.

Exhibition designers Pip Runciman, Julie Lynch, and Ross Wallace have created an exhibition that features 25 individual rooms, presenting an unexpected juxtaposition of objects that will lead us on a journey across time and memory. Powerhouse collection objects will be presented across the applied arts and applied sciences including the decorative arts, jewellery, costume, textiles, furniture, clocks, musical instruments, industrial design and social history.

Extraordinary objects include the only surviving fragment of the Lockheed Altair aircraft Lady Southern Cross flown by pioneer aviator Sir Charles Kingsford Smith for his final flight in 1935; a section of original Transatlantic cable from 1858; a mousetrap making machine designed in Sydney; an Edo period samurai warrior’s suit of armour; a 1.5 metre tall Mintons ceramic peacock from the 1870s and a Detroit Electric car manufactured in 1917.

Costumes include the ‘Showgirl’ costume worn by Kylie Minogue for the Closing Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games; the ‘Pink Diamonds’ dress worn by Nicole Kidman in the Baz Luhrmann film, Moulin Rouge and the ‘Fruity Mambo’ costumes designed by Catherine Martin for Strictly Ballroom the Musical.

Over 100 rare and remarkable pieces of jewellery will highlight a recent major donation by Anne Schofield AM. This includes Egyptian revival designs from the 1800s and examples of mourning jewellery crafted from human hair, which will be on display at Powerhouse for the first time.

French and Venetian glass from the 1800–1900s will be presented alongside key examples of Australian and international studio glass ranging from Dale Chihuly to Canberra-based artist Jennifer Kemarre Martiniello and Sydney-based artist Brian Hirst.    

“Leo Schofield and his collaborators, through this exhibition, shed new light and new perspectives on the Powerhouse collection. In 1001 Remarkable Objects we continue to extend our commitment to sharing with our communities the Powerhouse collection and the many insights and connections it makes to both our past and our future,” said Powerhouse Chief Executive Lisa Havilah.

1001 Remarkable Objects
Powerhouse Ultimo
26 August 2023 – December 2023
Free, no registration required.

Curatorium: Leo Schofield AM (curatorium chair), Ronan Sulich (advisor), Mark Sutcliffe (advisor) and Eva Czernis-Ryl (Powerhouse)
Assistant curator: Chloe Appleby (Powerhouse)
Exhibition manager: Anna Gardner (Powerhouse)
Exhibition designers: Pip Runciman, Julie Lynch and Ross Wallace
Lighting Designer: Damien Cooper





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About Powerhouse

Powerhouse sits at the intersection of arts, design, science and technology and plays a critical role in engaging communities with contemporary ideas and issues. We are undertaking a landmark $1.4 billion infrastructure renewal program, spearheaded by the creation of the flagship museum, Powerhouse Parramatta; expanded research and public facilities at Powerhouse Castle Hill; the renewal of the iconic Powerhouse Ultimo; and the ongoing operation of Sydney Observatory. The museum is custodian to over half a million objects of national and international significance and is considered one of the finest and most diverse collections in Australia. We are also undertaking an expansive digitisation project that will provide new levels of access to Powerhouse collections.