During the past three decades I have been lucky to be part of Australia’s growing museum sector as well as the parallel boom in appreciation of our material and cultural history.
My research and writing skills were developed at the Universities of New South Wales and Sydney, where I gained a doctorate in English economic and political history. The advent of the Powerhouse Museum project gave me the opportunity to move from academia to the museum world when the potential of collecting and interpretation was expanding dramatically. It was exciting to be part of the new museum world, and to help widen the focus of collecting, research and display into fresh areas of material and social culture. The Powerhouse, with its vast inter-disciplinary collection, was an ideal place to be.
Since the 1980s I have curated and co-curated almost thirty exhibitions across a diverse range of media and subject matter, including architecture and design, cinema, hotels and milk bars, sport and gambling, industry and working life. It was satisfying to explore new means of interpretation including audio-visual and digital media as well as interpreting artefacts from new perspectives. I have also been lucky enough to curate for other museums and institutions beyond the Powerhouse.
Through writing I took the opportunity to create longer-lasting interpretations of these subjects, again seeking to broaden the subject matter of Australian history and culture, and the books I have authored found good audiences while a couple also gained awards. I also enjoyed the advent of blogging and other new means of communication as well as more traditional formats including talks, lectures and walking tours. Since leaving the Powerhouse I have applied my skills to new settings and subjects including writing for the NSW State Heritage Inventory. My wide experience and range of abilities permits me to offer award-winning research, communication and curation skills not limited to particular specializations or media.
Click here to read a list of the exhibitions and publications I have worked on and the awards they have won.
SI Associate Dr Charles Pickett (left) with NSW Government Architect Peter Poulet at Sydney (Central) Station