Powerhouse Museum interactive chair collection

Plesase be seated interactive with Paul Donnolly

The Powerhouse Discovery Centre, the museum’s off-site storage and collection care facility at Castle Hill houses 40 percent of the Museum’s most exciting objects. Included is the post World War II modern furniture collection. Out of sight these objects are only occasionally on display in the museum’s exhibits.

So you’re wondering how and when you can get to see these wonderful objects? The traditional way is of course to wait until objects are put on exhibition as was the case with ‘Inspired! Design across time’. The exhibition featured decorative arts objects from the museum collection across collection periods. Luckily a digital record of the exhibition provides a brief preview of what was on show however the exhibition itself is no longer open and again the collection is out of view. Alternatively you can book behind-the-scenes tours at Castle Hill ((minimum number applies) or visit on programmed open days where you can see objects in situ at the storage facility.

But wait, there’s more! Thanks to digital media and our interactive video you can explore the chair collection on demand in this curator led tour ‘Please be seated‘, based on a live behind-the-scenes curator led  tour for Sydney Design 2013 held in August earlier in the year.

Dr Paul Donnolly takes you on a digital tour behind the scenes.

Dr Paul Donnolly takes you on a digital tour behind the scenes.

With the help of Content Theory the interactive video featuring museum curator Dr Paul Donnelly focuses on the design and development of the humble chair. As Dr Donnelly explains the period following World War II was a time of great change in many aspects of society including manufacturing techniques and materials, domestic technologies and lifestyles as well as the embracing of personal freedom of expression. The chair provides an intriguing insight and unusual document into this period of history. Designers featured in the interactive include Charles and Ray Eames, Grant Featherston, Gordon Andrews, Douglas Snelling, Marc Newson and many others from Australia, North America and Europe.

R152 Contour Chair by Mark Featherston

R152 Contour Chair by Mark Featherston

Please be seated takes you on a personal tour and gives you the chance to explore the Museum collection by providing additional facts and links to the collection database. The interactive explores the middle ground between the on-line collection, video and a curator led tour. The technology provides the cohesive narrative missing in an on-line catalogue and gives access to more detailed information on the individual objects that is not practical in a short video or in a curator led tour.

This video tour gives a small insight into our fabulous and diverse collection alternatively you can also search for your favourite items through the Powerhouse Museum Collection Database or search through our previous DHub posts for articles on ‘chairs‘. If you’re still keen to see the collection first hand and are in the area you can still book a private behind-the-scenes tour at Castle Hill.

'Gazelle' chair by Gordon Andrews

‘Gazelle’ chair by Gordon Andrews