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

Cultural Collections Projects Program 2014

The Cultural Collections Projects Program has returned for 2014, 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 research, cataloguing, preventative conservation, significance assessment, interpretation and display. Further details, individual position guides, and an expression of interest form can be found on the 2014 Projects List page.


Redmond Barry Fellowship 2014

Applications are now being accepted for the Redmond Barry Fellowship 2014. 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.


New Museums and Collections Award blog

Emily Keppel, this year's Melbourne recipient of the Museums and Collections Award has recently commenced her month long placement at the University of Birmingham. While there she will be working closely with their museums and cultural collections on cataloguing, research, exhibition and preventative conservation projects.

To read Emily's blog go to:


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


New Publications

University of Melbourne Collections 13

Issue 13, 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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