The rags: paraphernalia of menstruation

example objects from the collection

Menstruation is a matter for private lives, not public exhibition, so few museums collect artefacts associated with this defining occurrence in women's lives. In the collection of the Powerhouse Museum there is a small group of sanitary towels and tampons, pharmaceuticals to relieve the discomforts of the monthly 'period', and guidance booklets about puberty for adolescents and their parents. And in the Museum's Research Library there are magazines whose advertisements document evolution in the manufacture and marketing of menstrual products since the late 1800s. On The rags website you will find a selection from the Museum's collections, interspersed with menstrual anecdotes gathered during a wider research project on Australian home remedies.

Website content: Megan Hicks, Curator of Health and Medicine

Photography: Sue Stafford, Sotha Bourn, Jean-Fran├žois Lanzarone, Megan Hicks