The Odditoreum

This exhibition closed on 26 Aug 2012.

Discover the weird, the wonderful and the wacky in The Odditoreum, a free family exhibition at State Library.

The Odditoreum featured a menagerie of curiosities, both large and small, pulled from deep within the vaults of Sydney's Powerhouse Museum.

These oddities, carefully selected for their peculiarity, were then transformed by children's author and illustrator Shaun Tan, who blurred fact with fantasy to create intriguing stories for each object.

Was the giant liquorice allsorts shoe actually a guide dog testing distraction device? Was the massive hairball a Middle Ages cannonball substitute? And did they really use embarrassing boys' dresses as punishment suits for naughty children?

The oddities are no less intriguing when you discovered what they actually were.

Young visitors could also let their imaginations soar by writing their own labels and stories about the weird and wonderful oddities on display.

PLUS, a range of odd activities accompaned the exhibition.

The Odditoreum
26 May – 26 Aug 2012
The Parlour, level 1 (opposite The Corner)
State Library of Queensland

Shaun Tan

Shaun is the illustrator and author of award-winning picture books such as The Red Tree, The Lost Thing and The Arrival.

When asked for whom do you write and illustrate? his reply is

'…anyone who reads and looks. That is, anyone who is curious, who enjoys strangeness, mystery and oddity, who like asking questions and using their imagination….'

For Shaun, the strangeness of each object in The Odditoreum was where the trigger for his imagination was drawn. He turned a short factual description into a chemical reaction of ideas resulting in a very potent and funny mix that inspires the curiosity of visitors young and old.

Learning Notes

Educators, parents, carers and students can download The Odditoreum Teachers Exhibition Notes [Document in PDF format 829kb]. These notes are suitable for students to read, and segments can be reproduced, for example to create a worksheet or smartboard page, without the need for extensive editing.

The Odditoreum is a travelling exhibition developed by the Powerhouse Museum. The exhibition is supported by Visions of Australia, an Australian Government program supporting touring exhibitions by providing funding assistance for the development and touring of Australian cultural material across Australia.

Powerhouse MuseumAustralian Government - Visions of AustraliaNational Year of ReadingBrisbane Child

Events by type