Powerhouse Museum to digitise vast collection

MAAS Fender StratocasterThe Powerhouse Museum has launched one of the largest digitisation projects in Australia with the Museum to digitally capture around 338,000 items from its extraordinary collection.

Launching the Collection Digitisation Project, Minister for the Arts Don Harwin said the Museum will capture the majority of its collection, providing unprecedented community access to the treasure trove of cultural assets.

“Digitising the Powerhouse collection is a once-in-a-generation investment to enhance its accessibility for local, national and international audiences,” said Mr Harwin. “As we prepare this much loved institution for its exciting future in Parramatta it is an opportune moment in time to digitally capture the astonishing collection forever.”

“From the Beechcraft Queenair B80 air ambulance to more than 33,000 currency items including coins, bank notes and medals, the expert team at the Powerhouse will capture around 338,000 items – a truly remarkable project for our State’s cultural history,” said Mr Harwin.

The project is part of the Powerhouse Program which includes the establishment of the Powerhouse Precinct in Parramatta, the expansion of the Museum’s Discovery Centre and the creation of a creative industries precinct in Ultimo.

The first five Powerhouse objects digitised for the Powerhouse Program included:

  • Fender Stratocaster, used by Jim Skiathitis, to write, record and perform the song Bombora by The Atlantics, Fender, USA, 1961,
  • Max Dupain’s Linhof ‘Technika’ camera, 1959,
  • Murano renaissance revival glassware, late 1880s,
  • Nancy-Bird Walton flying helmet, 1950s, and
  • Joe Ngallametta Senior, Thap Yongk, natural earth pigments on wood, 2004

“I look forward to seeing the thousands of incredible objects that will come to light as the digitisation project is delivered,” said Powerhouse Chief Executive Lisa Havilah. “Over the course of the digitisation project over 2,000 textile items ranging from Egyptian Cloth dated 350BC to a fabric sample from the Akira Isogawa collection acquired in 2019 will be digitised by the Powerhouse team.”

The Powerhouse Museum will be collaborating with regional institutions to tour objects from the collection across regional NSW in 2021 – 22. Digitised objects from the Powerhouse collection will be available to view online at: maas.museum

Image: Fender Stratocaster – courtesy of Powerhouse Museum