A Powerhouse exhibition was recognised with a prestigious Museums and Galleries National Award (MAGNA) for Research at a ceremony in Perth this morning. The Invisible Revealed exhibition was organised in collaboration with ANSTO and the University of NSW.
It was among 30 exhibitions nominated across five award categories, which spotlight the Australian cultural sector’s most creative and innovative projects.
ANSTO senior instrument scientist and lead scientist on the project, Dr Joseph Bevitt, travelled to Perth to accept the award with Powerehouse Science Curator Nina Earl.
The Invisible Revealed features collaborative investigations initiated through the unique research partnership. ANSTO’s world-class research facilities, featuring neutron instruments at the Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering, synchrotron X-ray beams at the Australian Synchrotron and ion accelerators at the Centre for Accelerator Science, provided chemical, material, manufacturing and cultural insights into selected objects from the Powerhouse collection.
“The information, which is gained by the penetrating power of neutrons from the OPAL reactor, the sensitivity of accelerators and powerful synchrotron X-rays, can be used to determine the composition of objects, their age and see inside the artefacts,” said Dr Bevitt
Dr Bevitt, Dr Anton Maksimento and Dr Daniel Hausermann coordinated the tomographic imaging on the Dingo instrument at the Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering and the Imaging and Medical beamline at the Australian Synchrotron respectively.
Combined with digital visualisation techniques, the exhibition showcases the discoveries made in attempting to solve the mysteries of society’s material culture, ranging from Samurai swords spanning the period 1346-1800 to an Australian Aboriginal knife to a pocket watch from the 19th century among other artefacts.
The advanced nuclear and accelerator techniques are non-destructive, penetrating and exquisitely sensitive for use on priceless cultural heritage objects.
The exhibition includes detailed digital 3D reconstructions that provide an inner view of solid objects, an augmented reality experience and a digital reconstruction of a fragmented rug created using artificial intelligence, completed by the EPICentre at the University of New South Wales and engineered by Powerhouse Visiting Research Fellow Dr Tomasz Bednarz.
“The Powerhouse is delighted to have our innovative research partnership with ANSTO acknowledged with this prestigious award. The non-destructive analytical processes applied in The Invisible Revealed will revolutionise the conservation, research, care, documentation, and provenance of nationally significant collections,” said Powerhouse Chief Executive Lisa Havilah.
“The Powerhouse and ANSTO are pleased to accept this award for research excellence and for the recognition of the important role that nuclear and accelerator methods play in researching and analysing cultural heritage and museum collections,” said Powerhouse Research Manager, Dr Deborah Lawler.