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The Powerhouse Museum, along with the Sydney Observatory, make up what is known as the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. The Powerhouse Museum is the largest museum in Australia, and one of the most diverse in the world. Its exhibitions are noted for being educational as well as fun. Many of the exhibitions, especially those for children, are interactive and children learn as they participate in some way.

The building that houses this extraordinary museum was once the power source that feed the electric tram cars in Sydney. Constructed from 1899-1902 it was in use until 1961 when the trams stopped running. In 1979 the derelict building was sited as the new home for the museum and it opened as such in 1988.

Part of the old powerhouse can be observed as visitors tour the museum. The old boiler room and gargantuan smoke stacks are part of the museum as well as the Turbine and Engine Houses.

The history of the museum precedes its opening by one hundred years. Many of the collections were in the original museum that was to be housed in The Garden Palace. The Garden Palace had been built in 1879 for Australia's first international exhibition. The show was so popular that the government purchased many of the exhibits and set up a museum.

The Garden Palace was destroyed in a terrible six-hour fire before the museum could open. It was a miracle that a few of the exhibits were saved and a new museum planned. The Technological Museum, as it was called, moved into a new building in Ultimo just a block from where it stands today.

Exhibitions in the Powerhouse museum change often as well as the museum supporting permanent collections. The Space exhibit, the Strasburg Clock, Success and Innovation, Brewing and Pubs, The Boulton and Watt Engine, Steam Revolution, Pills and Potions, Transport, and Musical Instruments are just some of the permanent collections available to the public.

Admission to the Powerhouse Museum is free the first Saturday of every month. There is a fee on other days, but children less than five and adults over sixty get in free any day also. The museum is open every day of the year, except for Christmas Day, from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.