Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Opening up access to collections

People often gripe that at any time, a museum or gallery will only have 5-10% of its collection out on display.

The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney has made a move to improve this statistic, opening its Castle Hill storage and preservation centre up to the public, not just for a special event, but on a permanent basis. They've set up a new website to profile the venture:

Powerhouse Discovery Centre website

The Castle Hill centre houses 40% of the Powerhouse's collections (by volume), or about 50,000 objects. Sadly, you can't just roll up and visit - access is somewhat mediated via:
  • monthly public open days
  • quarterly community field days
  • themed supervised tours into stores on site
  • educational programs and workshops, tours for school groups and special-interest groups school holiday programs
  • community engagement programs
  • regional partnership events
  • specialist/industry and professional development programs.
As well as looking at the objects when you visit, you can get more information about the collection through the Powerhouse's online database, available on OPACs in internet-connected kiosks throughout the space.

Image from the
Powerhouse Discovery Centre website

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