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

Annie's story: the life of one Aboriginal woman as told through the Journal of William Thomas

A free public lecture presented by the 2013 Redmond Barry Fellow, Dr Marguerita Stephens

Tuesday 16 September 2014
Dulcie Hollyock Room, ground floor, Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne
Lecture begins at 6:00pm
Free admission but bookings are essential at

For more details about this lecture visit


New Museums and Collections Award blog

Lucy Cooper the University of Birmingham's 2014 Museums and Collections Award recipient, recently commenced her month-long placement with the Cultural Collections Unit. Studying for her Masters in Heritage Management, Lucy will spend the month working on a variety of collection management projects with the museums and collections on campus. You can follow her adventures via her blog at


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.


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 14

Issue 14, 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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