2010/11/38-2 Tablemat, embroidered, linen and cotton, Kookaburra design, maker unknown, Australia, 1920-1950.
This week is Bird Week which celebrates Australia’s beautiful native birds. It seems the perfect excuse to feature this charming table mat from the Ian Rumsey Australian Textiles Collection. The motif is one of Australia’s best known and easily seen birds, the Laughing Kookaburra.
Boy’s two-piece sailor suit, wool gabardine, with reproduction necktie and hat, probably made in England, 1915-1925. Powerhouse Museum collection, A7722.
With thousands of sailors in Sydney this week for the International Fleet Review, celebrating 100 years since the Australian Navy sailed into Sydney Harbour in 1913, I thought I’d write about children’s sailor suits. Australian children visiting the fleet ships in 1913 wouldn’t have been wearing shorts and tee shirts like their counter parts in 2013 but most probably sailor suits.
Mannequins waiting to be dressed for ‘The 80s are back’ exhibition. Image Powerhouse Museum
This image above is from a series by Museum photographer, Geoff Friend capturing the secret world of mannequins. Sometimes when venturing into the basement or workshop areas, particularly late in the afternoon I feel I have interrupted murmurings between mannequins. Continue reading
95/298/1 Film costume, swimsuit, women’s, satin / nylon / sequins, worn by Esther Williams or Edith Motridge as Annette Kellerman in ‘Million Dollar Mermaid’, designed by Helen Rose, made by MGM Studios, USA, 1951-1952. Collection: Powerhouse Museum
Despite being a huge star for MGM in the 1940s and 50s, Esther Williams’ most famous connection to Australia is arguably her role in the film Million Dollar Mermaid where she portrayed the early life of Annette Kellerman.
Powerhouse Museum Collection, object B1067. Gift of the University of Sydney, 1947.
Mudgee is the place to be from 19th to 21st April. Historic engines and tractors will be there in force, but there will be a lot more to interest visitors, from Clydesdale horses to old-style games for children. Powerhouse Museum curators have selected a group of highly significant objects to take to the event, including this early Daimler high-speed petrol engine, four early gas engines, specimens of fine wool grown in the Mudgee area, a rare woollen convict jacket and an amazing fine-wool jumper knitted by Mudgee’s own Myra Mogg in 1935.
Christina Sumner, Principal Curator, Design & Society in the basement with textiles, including 92/775 Suzani (needlework), Collection: Powerhouse Museum
On the eve of of Christina Sumner’s departure we asked her a few questions about her experiences at the Museum over the last 28 years.
What have you enjoyed the most about working in the Museum?
Always always always it’s been the people and the collection. I’ve been lucky enough to spend every working day with curatorial and other colleagues who are bright, interested, articulate and as passionate as I am about the collection – building it, and committing ourselves to interpret, tell stories about and communicate the meaning of our objects to the wider community.
One of the 97 Australian AIDS Memorial Quilts held in the collection. 2011/109/. Gift of the Sydney Quilt project, 2011. Collection: Powerhouse Museum
The theme for this year’s WORLD AIDS Day is ‘getting to Zero, which mean zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination . Zero AIDS related Deaths’. Australia has come a long way since the first World AIDS Day in 1988 and the first AIDS case came to its shores in 1982.
A looped string bag or bilum made from plant materials in Papua New Guinea in the early to mid 1900s. 2011/44/12-2 Powerhouse Museum collection
Always bulging, because that’s their nature, string bags are almost a thing of the past, relegated to memory by designer totes and paper carrier bags. One of the few string bags I see these days is the orange one my daughter uses to stuff all the beach toys into. This week however I’m reminded of those capacious multi-purpose string bags known as bilums that are traditional to Papua New Guinea. The connection? The photographic exhibition Access to Life which has just opened at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum for World AIDS Day 2012. Sydney is the tenth city in the world to show Access to Life, but the first to add Papua New Guinea as a special regional component.
Collection: Powerhouse Museum. Object number 93/277/1.
Here’s a rare treat for History Week: a richly illustrated and gilded porcelain plate that links the threads we wear with history, science, and the processes used in the textile and ceramic industries. The plate was made in the French town of Sevres in 1830 and depicts textile dyeing in another French town, Jouy-en-Josas. The use of colour in these industries depended on both craft knowledge and scientific understanding, and it was achieved through cooperation between factory workers and chemists.
Gulgong Pioneers Museum. Image courtesy Mudgee tourism
I was contacted late last year by Marie Gorie from the Gulgong Pioneers Museum about a project she was about to undertake. She wanted to re-order the textile store. Maintaining a collection store takes a lot of time and resources and obviously, as the collection grew, some of the maintenance had slipped.