Museum Victoria is the largest public museums organisation in Australia. It cares for Victoria’s scientific and cultural collections and provides visitor access, activities and events at four venues: Melbourne Museum including IMAX, Immigration Museum, Scienceworks and the Royal Exhibition Building.
Museums Victoria is an organisation which operates three major state-owned museums in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, the Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum and Scienceworks. It also manages the Royal Exhibition Building and a storage facility in Melbourne’s City of Moreland.
Museum Victoria oversees a wide range of research programs and the continued development of the state’s collections. It also manages major education and research based websites.
Museums Victoria is Australia’s largest public museum organisation.
Museum Victoria’s origins date back to 1854, with the founding of the National Museum of Victoria and the establishment, in 1870, of the Industrial and Technological Museum of Victoria (later known as the Science Museum of Victoria). By proclamation of the Museums Act 1983 (Vic.), these two institutions were amalgamated to form what is known today as Museum Victoria, governed by the Museums Board of Victoria. In 1996, Museum Victoria took over custodianship of the World Heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building.
Collections & Research
At Museums Victoria, we have been building and researching our collections since 1854.
Our priceless collections record Australia’s environmental and cultural history. They are an irreplaceable resource for understanding the past, reflecting on the present and looking into the future.
Research here adds to understanding of critical contemporary issues in science, the environment and society. Many of our researchers are world experts in their fields. Collaborative projects with universities, communities, government agencies and international institutions expand the museum’s activities far beyond the walls of our buildings.
History of the Collections
Research and collecting commenced with the establishment of the National Museum of Victoria in 1854, which had a primary focus on natural sciences. In addition to researching and collecting Victorian and Australian animals, rocks, minerals and fossils, the first Directors also acquired significant international collections and established important international research networks.
From the late 19th century the museum began to actively research Australian Aboriginal people and cultures and to develop a significant collection of associated artefacts.
In 1870, the Industrial and Technological Museum (subsequently the Science Museum of Victoria) was established to research, collect and display important scientific and technological advances.
When the two institutions amalgamated in 1983, social history was added as a further research and collecting focus.
Currently, Museums Victoria holds a collection of over 17 million items, held in high-quality storage facilities at Melbourne Museum, Scienceworks and a specialised storage facility. Collection managers, conservators and curators research, document and preserve the collections for present and future generations.
Our research, in the fields of science and humanities, uses the museum’s collections and expert staff to further what we know about the social and natural history of Victoria and beyond.
We present long-term and temporary exhibitions at three venues: Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum and Scienceworks. These exhibitions are core to our cultural and scientific programs for the people of Victoria and visitors from interstate and overseas.
Frederick McCoy’s Prodromus of the Zoology of Victoria set out to describe the colony’s fauna. Drawing on Museum Victoria’s rich archival sources, Caught & Coloured: Zoological Illustrations from Colonial Victoria explores the legacy of this great project. Original drawings, lithographic proofs and manuscripts bring to life the work of both McCoy and the artists he commissioned.
MV Collections allows users to explore the natural sciences and humanities collections, featuring collections of zoology, geology, palaeontology, history, indigenous cultures and technology. Over 1.16 million records were on the site in mid 2016, accompanied by over 150,000 images.
The collections are testimony to the endeavours and decisions of generations of curators employed at the museum. They include many items and discrete collections of international, national, state and local scientific or cultural significance.