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A temporary home at the Agricultural Hall in the Domain served until relocated to new, purpose-built premises in Harris Street as the Technological Museum in August 1893. The museum moved to its present location (the old Ultimo Power Station at 500 Harris Street) in March 1988, and took its present name (The Powerhouse Museum) from this new location.

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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 (which at that time was called Strassburg or Strasburg).

Smith had never actually seen the original when he built it but worked from a pamphlet which described its timekeeping and astronomical functions.

The Powerhouse Museum is the major branch of the Museum of Applied Arts & 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.

In 2016, A proposal to move the Powerhouse Museum from inner Sydney Ultimo to the western Sydney district of Parramatta has proved controversial.

and the Sydney International Exhibition of 1879 and Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880.

Some exhibits from these events were kept to constitute the original collection of the new Technological, Industrial and Sanitary Museum of New South Wales.

The museum was intended to be housed in the exhibition buildings known as the Garden Palace, which were destroyed by a fire in September 1882.

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