"The Powerhouse Museum, formerly the Government Museum of Technology and Applied Sciences in Sydney, Australia, has over the years grown to become Australia’s largest and most popular museum.
It’s collection began in 1880 and has grown to house nearly a half million objects. It has an ever changing array of exhibitions, and is a government cultural institution."
It was in 1879 that Australia had it’s first international exhibition, and the modern collection grew out of that event. After the exhibition, a place in the botanical gardens was built to house the growing collection, but it was largely destroyed by an incredibly fast burning fire.
Even so, the museum, determined to continue, grew out of that fire into what became the Technological Museum , which in 1945 was renamed once more to the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.
A.R. Penfold,a significant contributor to the research of tea tree oil, was curator at the museum during this time.
According to the Powerhouse Museum website, Penfold provided oil to doctors and dentists for ten years while they investigated the effectiveness of tea tree oil, and because of his contribution and the outcome of the research, tea tree oil found it’s way into the first aid kits of the soldiers in WWII.
In March of 1988 the museum opened up under a new name, “The Powerhouse Museum, in a redesigned power plant from the former Sydney Electric Tram service that had closed down in 1961. The new building would be able to house all the conveniences and services necessary to a new museum.
The museum houses the worlds oldest steam engine, manufactured by Matthew Boulton and James Watt, in 1785.
The Steam Engine is the most valuable piece in their collection.
The wide variety of artifacts and a catalog of well over a million separate items, the museum attracts over 600,000 people a year, and over 6.5 million visitors to their website annually.
The large volume of museum stock allows for only about 3% of the items to be displayed at any one time.