Over the years I have been deeply critical of the Powerhouse Museum and the parlous state of its maintenance, direction, and strategy. So it’s only fair that I point out how impressed I was when I visited yesterday.
Someone had clearly applied some imagination to the displays and the overall look of the place. For the first time in ages, it feels like a museum that is loved, that’s got a sense of fascination about it, and that’s welcoming.
There’s a great exhibition of medical equipment on the ground floor. The sort of stuff that usually languishes in storage boxes has been displayed to great effect. There are people talking science in hands-on displays. There are some huge balloon-like structures adding colour and interest. And, and I cannot believe no-one told me this, they have finally fixed the robot. The new robot feels emblematic of a whole new approach.
The Collider exhibition is both fascinating and appropriate to the venue. I know the Powerhouse imported it from the Science Museum in London – but its the first sensible import they’ve had in years and it has been done properly. As a way of getting an insight into CERN’s work and particle physics it is absolutely first-rate.
Look, while there’s more that could be done, overall I was enormously impressed at the changes in the Powerhouse. The evidence of thought and care fills me with hope for the institution. Now if only we could talk about this dumb decision to move it to Parramatta…