Model staircase, cedar (Toona australis), made by J L Gardiner, Sydney Technical College, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1891
This model staircase is a significant example of the work of Sydney Technical College instructor, John Lyone Gardiner. It was built to demonstrate the principles of stair construction. Almost from its inception the Museum had a close relationship with the Technical College which was its immediate neighbour in Harris Street. At the time there was a new interest in education through observation or 'learning by looking'. This was thought particularly important in the training of 'practical men' and museum's were an essential part of this process. As the English philanthropist, Thomas Twining, wrote in 'Science made easy' (1876) about the purpose behind his own Museum in Twickenham, outside London:
I became more and more impressed with the desirableness of propagating among the working population, sound practical knowledge calculated to secure for steady persevering industry, a well earned mead of Health and Comfort ... [through] VISUAL EDUCATION.
The staircase is made from cedar which is also significant as, at the time, the Museum was actively promoting commercial applicaions for colonial timbers.
This model staircase was made by John Lyon Gardiner at the Sydney Technical College in 1891.