The Many Sides of Charles Laseron, Part III

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Presented to the New South Wales Collection of Applied Art by Charles F. Laseron in 1927. Brush pot, Japan, 17th Century, MAAS collection, 115A

Presented to the New South Wales Collection of Applied Art by Charles F. Laseron in 1927. Brush pot, Japan, 17th Century, MAAS collection, 115A

Charles Laseron was an early collector at MAAS and formative influence upon our applied arts collection. He was also present during the Gallipoli landings in 1915. In the week leading up to the ANZAC Centenary, we are publishing a series of posts detailing Laseron’s life. This post is the final in a series of three.
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The Many Sides of Charles Laseron, Part II

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Charles Laseron catches an early penguin arrival in Spring, photograph by Archibald Lang Mclean, Cape Denison (Antarctica), 1911-14, State Library NSW collection, ON 144/Q498

Charles Laseron catches an early penguin arrival in Spring, photograph by Archibald Lang Mclean, Cape Denison (Antarctica), 1911-14, State Library NSW collection, ON 144/Q498

Charles Laseron was an early collector at MAAS and formative influence upon our applied arts collection. He was also present during the Gallipoli landings in 1915. In the week leading up to the ANZAC Centenary, we are publishing a series of posts detailing Laseron’s life. This post is the second of three. Continue reading

The Many Sides of Charles Laseron, Part I

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Charles Laseron among staff at the Technological Museum, Sydney, 1919, MAAS Collection, MRS 299/17 (detail)

Charles Laseron among staff at the Technological Museum, Sydney, 1919, MAAS Collection, MRS 299/17 (detail)

Charles Laseron was an early collector at MAAS and formative influence upon our applied arts collection. He was also present during the Gallipoli landings in 1915. In the week leading up to the ANZAC Centenary, we are publishing a series of posts detailing Laseron’s life. This post is the first of three.

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The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences has the moves!

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MAAS staff members Jack Mitchell, Kristina Koimtsidis, Nicola Josey and Nadia Odlum get their groove on for the worldwide 'Museum Dance Off' competition.

MAAS staff members Jack Mitchell, Kristina Koimtsidis, Nicola Josey and Nadia Odlum get their groove on for the worldwide ‘Museum Dance Off’ competition.

When you think of a museum employee you might imagine them wearing a tweed jacket, horn rimmed glasses and white gloves while they talk at you in dry monotone. In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth (except for the horn-rimmed glasses. They’re great).

If you want proof, check out our entry for the Museum Dance Off competition. We need your help to win the People’s Choice Trophy. The first round of voting opens at 10pm on  April 29th so mark it in your diary!

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Commemorating 100 Years of ANZAC at Castle Hill

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Solider Portrait of Robert Millikin, photographer unknown, 1914 - 18, MAAS Collection (the Tyrell Collection), 85/1286-1018

Soldier Portrait of Robert Millikin, photographer unknown, 1914 – 18, MAAS Collection (Tyrrell Collection), 85/1286-1018

On Saturday, 25 April this year, Australia marks 100 years since the landing at Gallipoli during World War I. As part of proceedings to mark this significant anniversary, MAAS has collaborated with Castle Hill RSL Club on a special exhibition for their members and guests. The Centenary of ANZAC Exhibition combines objects from the MAAS collection, the Castle Hill RSL collection and personal archives held by members of the local community. It’s on display until 29th April in the main foyer of the Castle Hill RSL Club. Curatorial volunteer, Kate Clancy, reports on the installation process.

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Wirth’s Circus hits the road

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Harry, Philip and George Wirth (standing); Marizles and Madeline Wirth (seated); the three child performers, Herbert, Carl and Alfred, were orphans adopted as Wirths. Gift of the Wirth family, 2012. Collection: Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.

Harry, Philip and George Wirth (standing); Marizles and Madeline Wirth (seated); the three child performers, Herbert, Carl and Alfred, were orphans adopted as Wirths. Photograph taken around 1890, MAAS collection, 2012/104/1

The Circus Factory exhibition includes costumes, photographs and documents from the Museum’s Wirth’s Circus collection. The Wirth name has a special place in Australian circus folklore. Billed as Australia’s own ‘Greatest Show on Earth’, Wirth’s Circus toured from 1880 until its demise in 1963. Previous posts on this blog have looked at how we are showing the collection, the Wirths’ musical beginnings, the diary of John James Wirth and how the Wirth brothers transformed from band to circus. Photographs and documents in the Museum’s collection also reveal the rapid growth of Wirth’s Circus.

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Mouse slippers’ label receives international honour

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Award winning mouse slippers’ label from the Powerhouse exhibition "The Oopsatoreum" by Shaun Tan

Award winning mouse slippers’ label from the Powerhouse exhibition “The Oopsatoreum” by Shaun Tan

‘Mouse slippers’, a label from the Powerhouse exhibition The Oopsatoreum, is one of 10 labels honoured in this year’s annual Excellence in Exhibition Label Writing Competition, an international award sponsored by the American Alliance of Museums in partnership with the Museology Graduate Program at the University of Washington, Seattle.

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Form Without Ornament: A New Industrial Design Process

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A page from an AEG catalogue showing variations on a theme – consumers were able to customise their kettle purchase by choosing from three shapes, sizes and finishes. (from T. Buddensieg, ed., Industrie-kultur, courtesy Gebr, Mann Verlag, Berlin.)

A page from an AEG catalogue showing variations on a theme – consumers were able to customise their kettle purchase by choosing from three shapes, sizes and finishes. (from T. Buddensieg, ed., Industrie-kultur, courtesy Gebr, Mann Verlag, Berlin.)

Our Interface exhibition unpacks some strategies employed by designers to simplify the way we use information technology (IT) tools. But surprisingly, the earliest objects in the exhibition are not IT artefacts at all but come from our decorative arts collection. We included a vase by famed British designer Christopher Dresser and a teapot by German designer Peter Behrens to demonstrate an early advanced understanding of design in the age of mass production. Bear in mind, both objects were made around the turn of the 20th century, a time when manufacturing and our consumption of goods was fundamentally changing as part of the Industrial Revolution.

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Steam locomotive 3642 celebrates 125 years of Sydney’s North Shore railway

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Locomotive 3642 steaming out of Gordon station on 8 March 2015. Photo by Phillip Simpson.

Locomotive 3642 steaming out of Gordon station on 8 March 2015. Photo by Phillip Simpson.

Last Sunday, 8 March 2015, the leafy tranquility of Sydney’s Upper North Shore was pierced regularly throughout the day by a shrill steam whistle. Steam had returned to this commuter line to the city with the historic steam locomotive 3642 providing steam train rides between Hornsby and Gordon stations to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the opening of the line. Five steam train trips were operated between the normal double-deck electric services. Continue reading

Obituary: John Smith, August 1948 – 24 February 2015

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Coffee table, ‘Colourblock’, wood / glass, John Smith, Tasmania, Australia, 1984 (MAAS collection 86/120)

Coffee table, ‘Colourblock’, wood / glass, John Smith, Tasmania, Australia, 1984 (MAAS collection 86/120)

This post was written by Grace Cochrane AM, independent curator and writer, Sydney; former senior curator of Australian decorative arts and design, MAAS, Powerhouse Museum.

It is very sad to hear of the death on 24 February 2015, of John Smith, a key figure in furniture designing and making in Australia for over 40 years. Smith and his partner, ceramic artist and designer Penny Smith, migrated to Tasmania as ‘10-pound Poms’, in 1970, and it was here that I met them after ‘crossing the ditch’ from New Zealand in 1972. After bravely battling recurrent bouts of cancer for some years, John Smith died with his family around him, at their weekender on Bruny Island. Continue reading