Cultural Collections

Welcome to the Cultural Collections of the University of Melbourne

The University of Melbourne owns 29 Cultural Collections. The origins of some lie in the earliest years of the University's establishment in the 1850s, while regular new acquisitions keep the collections dynamic and relevant.

The Cultural Collections embody the history of many of the academic disciplines taught at the University of Melbourne, including law, classics, history, languages, medicine, dentistry, botany, zoology, physics, fine arts, music and engineering. Object types include rare books and manuscripts, paintings, sculptures, archives, photographs, medical and dental implements, scientific apparatus, musical instruments, mineral, plant and animal specimens, and ethnographic and archaeological artefacts.

The University encourages the use of the collections by students, staff and the wider community, whether for research, teaching, conversation or enjoyment.

Supporting the Cultural Collections

The University’s 29 cultural collections benefit from the support of alumni, students, staff, philanthropic trusts, corporate sponsors, friends groups and many interested individuals. More information on how you can contribute.

News and Events

2015 International Museums and Collections Award

Applications are now being accepted from University of Melbourne students for the prestigious International Museums and Collections Award. The Award enables the recipient to travel to the University of Birmingham and spend one month working alongside museum professionals on a variety of collection management projects. Through this unique placement the student has the invaluable opportunity to develop and extend vocational skills while enhancing their understanding of current issues facing collections and museums internationally.

For more information on the Award and application procedures please see the Cultural Collections Projects Program website or download the flyer.


International Museum Day ‘15

Every year since 1977, ICOM has organised International Museum Day (IMD), which represents a unique moment for the international museum community. On this day, participating museums plan creative events and activities related to the International Museum Day theme, engage with their public and highlight the importance of the role of museums as institutions that serve society and its development.

To celebrate International Museum Day in 2015 we are offering a series of museum tours for university staff to get better acquainted with some of our rich cultural collections and an afternoon series of talks for staff working in the field.

For further details see News & Events, Tour Info & Bookings and or Public Talk.


Redmond Barry Fellowship 2015

Applications are now being accepted for the Redmond Barry Fellowship 2015. The Fellowship shall be awarded to scholars and writers to facilitate research and the production of works of literature that utilise the superb collections of the State Library of Victoria and the University of Melbourne. Up to $20,000 shall be awarded to the successful applicant to assist with travel, living and research expenses.

Further details and application forms are available on the Redmond Barry Fellowship page.


2014 Museums and Collections Award recipient announced

Congratulations to Master of Cultural Materials Conservation student Amy Walsh, who was recently selected from a highly qualified field of applicants as the Melbourne recipient of the 2014 Museums and Collections Award. Amy will be off to the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom early next year, on a month long placement working with museums and collections. Amy's blog of her Birmingham adventure will be accessible through the Cultural Collections website from mid January.


Cultural Collections Projects Program 2015

The Cultural Collections Projects Program has returned for 2015, offering many unique opportunities for students, alumni and volunteers to engage with the cultural collections managed by the University. The collection management projects are varied and include cataloguing, research, preventative conservation, significance assessment, interpretation and display. Further details, individual position guides and application procedures are available on the 2015 Projects List page.


Cultural Collections e-news

Cultural Collections e-news is a new monthly newsletter featuring news, forthcoming events and current exhibitions relevant to the University of Melbourne's Cultural Collections.

Subscribe to Cultural Collections e-news



University of Melbourne Collections 15

Issue 15, the new edition of University of Melbourne Collections, has been published and is now available.

Collections cover

A Handbook for Academic Museums: Exhibitions and Education

Helen Arnoldi, Cultural Collections Projects Coordinator, has written a chapter which looks at the interaction of students and volunteers with the University collections in an international publication recently published by MuseumsEtc, A Handbook for Academic Museums: Exhibitions and Education. Helen's chapter is titled A Mutually Beneficial Exchange: The University of Melbourne's Cultural Collections Projects Program. The book is available for purchase online here.

Exhibitions and Education book cover

Cultural Policy

The University's Cultural Policy sets out the guiding principles which assist the University to configure its cultural resources, including its Cultural Collections, to best serve the whole community.

Cultural Policy

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