Powerhouse Museum: an exhibition archive

The Powerhouse Museum: an exhibition archive 1988-2018
Christina Sumner OAM, 31 October 2018.

Exhibitions developed by and/or displayed at the Powerhouse Museum, the Observatory, the Mint, the Hyde Park Barracks, the Powerhouse (now Museum) Discovery Centre and online from 1988, when the Powerhouse opened its doors in its new Ultimo location, to 2018. Also included is a list of collaborative exhibition, web and publication projects organised by the Migration Heritage Centre while based at the Powerhouse Museum

For the full 65-page list, read: Powerhouse Museum exhibitions 1988-2018 – 12 Nov 18

From its original establishment in the 1880s to the present day, the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, previously under different names and now known as MAAS, has proudly and diligently exhibited different aspects of its outstanding collection. The following list seeks to provide a record of exhibitions from the opening of the new Powerhouse Museum venue in Ultimo in March 1988 through the 30 subsequent fruitful years.
The list also documents exhibitions in associated venues including the Sydney Observatory, for some years the Hyde Park Barracks and the Mint Museum, as well as touring exhibitions.
Many years of rigorous planning preceded the 1988 opening of the Powerhouse Museum, which was heralded as the most important cultural development in Sydney since the opening of the Opera House, and a major event in Australia’s bicentennial year. A museum for us all, a museum of creativity, curiosity and community, the Powerhouse Museum set out to explore the interrelationship of science, art and people in an Australian context. In its site, historic and redeveloped buildings, collection interpretation and exhibitions, the Powerhouse created new standards of excellence for Australian museums and invited comparison with the world’s finest.
At that time, in 1988, only a fraction of the Museum’s remarkable collection had ever been on display and the 25 new exhibitions in which the collection was presented formed the ultimate achievement of the entire project. In no other museum in the world could such a variety of displays be found under one roof, spanning science, technology, social history and decorative arts. It was also a living museum where visitors were encouraged to become more than mere spectators, to be actively involved with the interactive exhibits, computer programs, video games, craft workshops, musical performances and science demonstrations, all of which invited participation in experiences designed to engage, entertain and enlighten.
The information for this list has been extracted from a range of sources, mainly annual reports and the corporate memory of Museum colleagues, and collated by former principal curator Christina Sumner OAM. The exhibitions are primarily organised chronologically, in the year they were opened, then alphabetically within each year. Effort has been made to keep errors, omissions, inconsistencies and infelicities to a minimum, but they inevitably persist. Corrections and additions are warmly invited.