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One of the coolest objects I have acquired for the Health and Medicine collection is the Grass 7D polygraph machine. A common deus ex machina devise for Hollywood script writers – Polygraph machines, or ‘lie detectors’ are one of those objects that are so embedded in the public consciousness by popular culture that to see an actual example ignites curiosity.
Several of my most favourite objects at the Powerhouse Museum are the five sledges used on Mawson’s and Scott’s Antarctic expeditions in the early 20th century. Hardly anyone knows we’ve got them.
Recently I was invited to visit the studio of Australian artist and filmmaker, George Gittoes to inspect his collection of Yellow House Puppet Theatre puppets paintings, ceramics and etchings. Today Gittoes is an internationally renowned filmmaker, but in the Sixties, he was a co-founder of the Yellow House, one of the most colourful contributions to the hippy/psychedelic era in Australia during the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Today it is hard to imagine that the now-ubiquitous tubular-steel style of furniture was once at the fore-front of modern design. In the mid 1920s tubular steel furniture had developed from purely utilitarian use in hospitals and transport to the domestic environment.
This bike-riding prawn is one of my favourite things in the Museum’s collection. I both love it, and am deeply suspicious of it. The costume and bike were used in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony and are part of a large number of Olympic costumes we have in our collection.