Some answers to frequently asked questions at the Powerhouse Museum.
How many objects are in the Powerhouse Museum collection?
As at the end of June 2010, the collection consists of 150,338 registration numbers. The number of objects constituting a registration number varies from a single object (2010/36/1 – a single key fife) to a large group of objects (2009/43/1 – Benini archive of photographs and negatives).
Over the Museum’s collecting history the manner in which objects are registered has changed for example the John Slater collection of Doulton ware, which is comprised of over 800 individual pieces is allocated a single registration number, A2778. Objects identified under a single registration number can also contain parts, for example 2010/20/1 Iced VoVo ensemble, consists of a dress and a pair of shoes.
There is estimated to be well over 500,000 separate items in the Museum’s collection be they object or parts.
How many objects are on display?
Only about 3% at any one time (10% by volume) is on display in exhibitions. However two recent initiatives have now granted unprecedented access to the collection by both real and virtual avenues.
With the opening of the Powerhouse Discovery Centre: Collection Stores at Castle Hill, public access is available to around 50,000 objects in storage there, which equates to about 40% of the collection by volume.
Another 80,000 plus object records are available online through our Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC 2.0) launched in 2006. This web initiative provides images and information about objects from the collection.
What is the biggest object in the collection?
Locomotive 3830 is the most massive at 200 tonne. The Catalina Flying Boat has the biggest dimensions.
What is the most valuable object in the collection?
The Boulton and Watt rotative engine is absolutely priceless.
How big is the Powerhouse?
Approx 20,000 square metres of public space, which is equivalent to three international competition soccer fields.
How many exhibitions are there at the Powerhouse Museum?
There is a constantly changing program of temporary exhibitions and displays at the Museum as well as permanent galleries, including Transport and Space, which contain some of the larger objects from the collection but have objects or elements of them regularly refreshed.
How many people visit the Museum each year?
The average over the last five years, across our three sites, is more than 640,000 visitors each year.
The Powerhouse averaged over 480,000 visitors annually to the Ultimo building.
Visitors to our off site exhibitions and programs, averaged between 2005-2010, were over 390,000 per year.
Since the Powerhouse Museum opened in 1988, over 15.8 million visitors have passed through our doors at Ultimo.
What is the record number of visitors on one day?
16,631 on Australia Day 26 January 1994.
How many staff work at the Powerhouse?
274.6 full time equivalent staff at June 2010. The Museum also had 297 volunteers in 2009-10 who contributed over 32,000 hours of service.