1001 Remarkable Objects at the Powerhouse Museum

‘1001 Remarkable Objects’ is a new exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, on show in Ultimo until December.

The display celebrates the collection of the Powerhouse which sits at the intersection of arts, design, science and technology. As such the array of special pieces shared with the public is diverse! We are offered a plethora of curiosities from the decorative arts, jewellery, costume, textiles, furniture, clocks, musical instruments, industrial design and social history. These unique pieces have been amassed under the themes of ‘nature, power, movement and joy’ across 25 rooms.

Double bass, red brown varnish, European Spruce / European Maple / Australian Cedar / brass / paper, made by John Devereux, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1856
Film costume, ‘Fruity Rhumba’, from ‘Strictly Ballroom’, catsuit and accessories, mens, various materials, designed by Angus Strathie, made by M&A Film Corporation Pty Ltd / Anthony Phillips / Barrie Lowe / Bloch Australia, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1991

“We rejected the nomenclature of ‘treasures’ or ‘masterpieces’ and instead determined all choices must be in some way ‘remarkable’ – whether by virtue of rarity, visual appeal, social history or an ability to invoke wonder. The result is a cornucopia of eras, styles, form, function, size and colour, to stoke memories that so many have of this iconic institution and signal the beginning of a new phase in its marvellous existence,” said Curatorium Chair Leo Schofield AM.

Aircraft undercarriage from Lockheed Altair monoplane ‘Lady Southern Cross’, starboard side, metal / rubber, made by Lockheed Aircraft Company, Burbank, California, United States of America, probably 1933, only surviving fragment of aircraft in which Sir Charles Kingsford Smith died, 8 November 1935

Some works the museum encourages us to delight in are the ‘Fruity Mambo’ costumes designed by Catherine Martin for Strictly Ballroom the Musical, a pair of Super Elevated Gillie platform shoes by British designer Vivienne Westwood from Anglomania, a Double bass made in 1856 by John Devereux, and the only surviving fragment of the Lockheed Altair aircraft Lady Southern Cross flown by pioneer aviator Sir Charles Kingsford Smith.

Shoes (pair), ‘Super Elevated Gillie’, ‘Anglomania’ collection, Autumn / Winter 1993-1994, womens, leather / cork / silk, designed by Vivienne Westwood, London, England, 1993

It’s quite an incredible feat of curation and also demonstrates the wealth of the collection. The museum shared they selected 1001 pieces from the more than half a million objects at their disposal. Some of the works viewers will be treated to have never been exhibited before, and these will sit alongside much loved collection icons. Enjoy!