Exhibition puts ’60s movers and shakers on centre stage

Revolutions: Records and Rebels
Where: Melbourne Museum
When: Season extended to October 6
Cost: Concession $23, adults $29

Rating: ★★★★★


Sex, drugs and rock n roll all come together in a melting pot of ’60s culture for the Revolutions: Records and Rebels exhibition at Melbourne Museum.

It’s a stirring sonic experience with songs from Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, The Beatles and Creedence Clearwater Revival to guide you through each seismic shift in music, politics, fashion design and technology.

In the world of Swinging London are displays of sketches and costumes of popular culture icons such as Twiggy and Mick Jagger. 

Museums Victoria CEO and director Lynley Crosswell said the ’60s paved the way for the world we line in today. 

“So many of the freedoms that we take for granted today came about because of the rebels and rule-breakers from previous generations,” Ms Crosswell said.

“By connecting audiences with this brief, iconoclastic period in our recent past, we hope to inspire them to consider the role they might play in shaping our future.”

Beatlemania is displayed in all its glory with two of John Lennon’s classic white suits and his costume from the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover on show, the original cover artwork sketch for the Beatles’ 1968 single Revolutions, and the handwritten lyrics to their 1967 song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

Beatles costume for Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. PHOTO: Supplied by Museums Victoria

The exhibition provides a guide though the political upheaval of the Vietnam War and its impact on the American white middle-class and its trust in government and institutions. 

As well, it shows how African-Americans took back their power in the infancy of the Black Panther movement. On display is the all black leather gear Black Panthers wore that became a poignant symbol of their fight for freedom of movement and expression. 

Psychedelic drugs and their impact on the human psyche opened up new ways of thinking, producing and interacting. Video footage of Woodstock and Communes in America show how nudity, casual sex and a turn away from capitalist ideals of living were normalised.

You can buy the tickets at the venue or here