Powerhouse is cracking disappointing

Wallace and Gromit hiding in the dark
Wallace and Gromit hiding in the dark

I so, so wish I wasn’t so consistently disappointed by the Powerhouse Museum. I want to love it, I really do – but I just keep coming away feeling let down.

We went to see the Wallace and Gromit’s World of Invention exhibition. We were all looking forward to it, having seen it several years ago at the Science Museum in London and loved it. Sadly it just didn’t live up to our expectations this time around. There are still some clever displays – the inventions that don’t work, like dehydrated water, certainly raised a smile. Overall though the presentation just left the experience feeling drab.

The London Science Museum put the show on in a light-filled open area. As you came in there was a two-storey slide the kids could go down, reminiscent of Wallace getting up in the morning. The show seemed to glitter with excitement and possibilities. There were staff on hand to help with creating ideas on paper and in modelling clay. It was fun and educational.

In contrast the Powerhouse’s version is in a dark, dark area with black-painted walls and uncovered doors. There’s a toddler slide in a corner. Many of the displays are beginning to look their age and don’t seem to have been polished or vacuumed. There were no staff to be seen, let alone encourage activity.

It’s still a good exhibition about ideas and invention. But it’s simply not displayed in an exciting way or to best advantage. Now at some level that’s going to be a matter of opinion, perhaps some people like the dark approach. What’s not so arguable is the lack of thought evident in the fact that an exhibition about invention does not mention, let alone link to, the wonderful designTECH display quietly sitting a floor down and showcasing the amazing inventing work of last year’s HSC students. What a squandered opportunity.

This, sadly, was not a cracking good job, Gromit!

Image: Ardman

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