It was a beautiful sunny afternoon as 20 or so lucky library and museum enthusiasts gathered outside the Powerhouse Museum waiting to be taken into through the Love Lace exhibition, the collection carefully housed in the basement, the research library and to sit down with Sebastian Chan, Head of Digital, Social and Emerging Technologies at the Powerhouse.
One of the many interesting experiences of the day was the chance to play with the QR (quick response) codes embedded in the Love Lace Exhibition. If you have never tried one of these QR codes it is basically a graphic representation of a URL that can be experienced with a smart phone. By downloading the Powerhouse app or using a bar code reader and then taking a photo of the graphic, the user is directed to a web site related to the resource, in this case further information about the piece and the artist.
We then ventured into the basement to see so many wonderful pieces held by the museum. Everything from toys to dresses to clocks to medical equipment. Every drawer revealed another treasure. The above shoes were originally created for adult women who practiced the custom of foot binding.
After the basement we toured the Research library and discovered the wide range held in this bursting-at-the-seams library. The Research Library has recently started using Koha, the open source ILS out of New Zealand and have experienced great results.
We ended our day sitting down the Seb Chan. He shared his insights into how the Powerhouse is using social media with the upcoming Harry Potter exhibition, the balance museums face trying to justify both the physical and virtual spaces and how an online presence can provide a follow up experience after a visitor leaves the Powerhouse.
All in all it was a very inspiring afternoon, a big thank you goes out to the team at the Powerhouse for being so generous with their time and knowledge. If you missed out on this tour keep watching the ALIA Sydney blog for more opportunities.
There are many, many more images in the ALIA Sydney Flickr photo stream
Amy Barker, ALIA committee member tweets @unlikelylibrary