Henry Ford’s Model T and its impact in Australia

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This 22 hp, 4-cylinder Model T Tourer was made at Ford’s Walkerville factory, Ontario, Canada, in 1916. Ford Canada supplied cars to the British Empire. MAAS collection, B727-1

It was Henry Ford’s dream to “democratise the automobile” by not only making it available to the rich but to everyone. He did this by producing the inexpensive Model T, a car which took the world by storm and was a significant invention during the Industrial Revolution. Between 1908 and 1927, a staggering 15 million Model Ts were made and sold worldwide when car manufacturing was still largely in its infancy.

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Shirley Martin: Australian industrial designer

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Olympic Games towel designed by Shirley de Vocht for Dri-Glo Towels, Sydney, 1956, MAAS collection, 2002/88/8

Olympic Games towel designed by Shirley de Vocht for Dri-Glo Towels, Sydney, 1956, MAAS collection, 2002/88/8

Shirley Martin was a female industrial designer based in Sydney who had a long and illustrious career as a post-WWII Australian textile and ceramic designer. She is best known for designing the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games towel, but there is much more to her remarkable design industry success story.

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Florence Broadhurst’s Fabulous Foils

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Florence Broadhurst, unknown photographer, 1920s, MAAS collection, 97/98/1-4/9

Florence Broadhurst, unknown photographer, 1920s, MAAS collection, 97/98/1-4/9

From the mid 19th century, wallpapers used in Australia had predominantly been imported from Britain, but also from France, Canada and America. In 1959, Florence Broadhurst decided to buck the trend. Turning 60, she established Australian (Hand-Printed) Wallpapers (renamed Florence Broadhurst Wallpapers in 1969). It is this, her final design and production venture, as well as her reputation as a colourful Sydney personality with an A-list of prestigious clients, and her still-unresolved murder in 1977, for which Broadhurst is best remembered today.

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The Aesthetics of Prosthetics: a Brief History

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Prosthetic arm, 1920, MAAS collection, 2004/158/1-1

Prosthetic arm, 1920, MAAS collection, 2004/158/1-1

On Wednesday, 15 July 2015, museums around the world are sharing #DisabilityStories found in their collections. We’re joining the conversation with this post by MAAS Curator, Damian McDonald, who details the technologies used in prosthetics in our collection:

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A Star is Named: Eddie Mabo honoured in star dedication

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MAAS Director, Rose Hiscock with Eddie Mabo's granddaughter, Gail Mabo, at the Sydney Observatory. Photograph by Jayne Ion.

MAAS Director, Rose Hiscock with Eddie Mabo’s daughter, Gail Mabo, at the Sydney Observatory. Photograph by Jayne Ion.

For NAIDOC Week 2015, Luke Briscoe of National Indigenous TV (NITV) writes about the star naming ceremony in honour of Eddie Mabo which took place at Sydney Observatory on 3 June 2015 (Eddie Mabo Day).

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A Fashion Affair: Romance Was Born and MAAS

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'Desert Pea Dame,' Cooee Couture, made and designed by Romance Was Born, Sydney, 2015

‘Desert Pea Dame,’ Cooee Couture, made and designed by Romance Was Born, Sydney, 2015

Our Annual Appeal this year is focussed on acquiring the latest collection by Australian fashion label, Romance Was Born. MAAS has a long relationship with Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales, the designers behind the label, as our collection has informed their practice over many years. In this post, curator Roger Leong recounts how that relationship has developed:

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Australia’s Surfing History and Surfboard Design

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Tanya Binning off Bondi Beach, 'Made in Australia' book, 1969, David Mist archive, MAAS collection, 96/44/1-6/3/2. Gift of David Mist, 1996.

Tanya Binning off Bondi Beach, ‘Made in Australia’ book, 1969, David Mist archive, MAAS collection, 96/44/1-6/3/2

On Saturday 20 June 2015 about 30 countries around the world will be celebrating International Surfing Day, Australia included. The idea is to celebrate surfing and the surfing lifestyle with contests and barbecues. More importantly, the day has a sustainability message with surfers participating in projects like beach clean ups and sand dune stabilisation.

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200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo

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Portrait of Jonathon Croft, Deputy Purveyor of Sydney (Rum) Hospital, 1836, hand coloured photograph, artist unknown, Australia, 1850-1855, MAAS collection, 2008/141/1

Portrait of Jonathon Croft, Deputy Purveyor of Sydney (Rum) Hospital, 1836, hand coloured photograph, artist unknown, Australia, 1850-1855, MAAS collection, 2008/141/1

On 18 June 1815, over 140,000 soldiers fought at the Battle of Waterloo where Napoleon, the French Emperor, was finally defeated in his plans to control Europe. The victory at Waterloo by the British Duke of Wellington and Britain’s allies was the final battle of many in the long French and Napoleonic Wars spanning from 1793 to 1815. Among those who survived are individuals represented in the MAAS collection who had eventually made their way to Australia as a continuation of their military career or public service.

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Hartmut Esslinger lets rip on design

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Hartmut Esslinger presents at MAAS

Hartmut Esslinger presents at MAAS

While visiting Sydney, German born American design luminary and provocateur Hartmut Esslinger set aside time to visit the Museum for the second time in six months and present his views on design. Convergent design and originality have long underpinned Hartmut’s practice since his early days as founder of Frogdesign. Hartmut had dropped in late last year after the opening of the INTERFACE exhibition and had promised to return. This time I had time to chat to him about the objects and designers represented in the exhibition.

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Japanese Folds exhibition

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 Minaret, lantern-shaped dress (Detail), Issey Miyake, Japan, 1995, MAAS Collection, 95/143/1

Minaret, lantern-shaped dress (Detail), Issey Miyake, Japan, 1995, MAAS Collection, 95/143/1

Japanese Folds (16 May-21 June 2015) is a playful exhibition showing contemporary fashion items and decorative arts from the Museum’s collection centred on the Japanese practice of folding. The exhibition provides an insight into the folding design concept with a focus on the way contemporary Japanese designers have adapted and incorporated traditional folding practices into their work.

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