The Powerhouse Museum is the major branch of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Sydney, the other being the historic Sydney Observatory. Although often described as a science museum, the Powerhouse has a diverse collection encompassing all sorts of technology including Decorative arts, Science, Communication, Transport, Costume, Furniture, Media, Computer technology, Space technology and Steam engines.
It has existed in various guises for over 125 years, and is home to some 400,000 artifacts, many of which are displayed or housed at the site it has occupied since 1988, and for which it is named - a converted electric tram power station in the Inner West suburb of Ultimo, originally constructed in 1902. It is well known, and a popular Sydney tourist destination. It has a quarterly magazine called Powerline sent free to members and available at the museum.
The Powerhouse Museum houses a number of unique exhibits including the oldest operational rotative steam engine in the world. Dating from 1785, it is one of only a handful remaining that was built by Boulton and Watt and was acquired from Whitbread's London Brewery in 1888. This engine was named a Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1986. Another important exhibit is Locomotive No. 1, the first steam locomotive to operate in New South Wales, built by Robert Stephenson in 1854. The most popular exhibit is arguably "The Strasburg Clock Model", built in 1887 by a 25-year old Sydney watchmaker named Richard Smith. It is a working model of the famous Strasbourg astronomical clock in Strasbourg Cathedral. Smith had never actually seen the original when he built it but worked from a pamphlet which described its timekeeping and astronomical functions.