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Looking at the Forest Gallery, Melbourne Museum
Melbourne Museum
Photographer: John Gollings.
Image source: Museum Victoria

Immigration Museum
The Immigration Museum, housed in the Old Customs House in Flinders Street, Melbourne.
Photographer: Ben Wrigley. Image source: Museum Victoria

View of Scienceworks from the river
Scienceworks Museum features the historic 19th-century Spotswood Pumping Station.
Image source: Museum Victoria

Museum Victoria Today

In 2000, the flagship of Museum Victoria opened alongside the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens. An award-winning creation, Melbourne Museum is a colourful assemblage of buildings anchored within a ‘super-grid’ and flanked by enormous raked canopies. It sits in stark contrast to the grand Royal Exhibition Building with its domed Great Hall, designed by Joseph Reed for the 1880–81 Melbourne International Exhibition.

The Immigration Museum, at the opposite end of town, is housed in the classical Old Customs House, dating from 1876 and designed by John James Clark. In the west, the Scienceworks complex includes the historic 19th-century Spotswood Pumping Station, the plans of which are attributed to Christian Kussmaul. This distinguished set of buildings comprises significant cultural heritage, which we manage with a similar level of care to that of our collection.

Museum Victoria as we know it today has grown to a large and diverse organisation. Historically, it has always had a primary role as the Victorian state museum, collecting the state's natural and cultural heritage. It also continues to develop and manage a collection of national significance.

The museum is always looking to acquire new material. The acquisition is not a random process but is guided by a sound collection policy, and expert advice from curators. Sometimes there is an element of luck, and we know straight away that we have obtained a valuable item. At other times, it might take years for the true value of a treasure to become apparent. In yet other areas we are creating new collections, such as a tissue bank representing Australian fauna.

With the rapid development of the museum over the last 20 years, there have been major improvements in storage facilities for the collection. Previous perceptions of museums might have been of grimy and dusty specimens, reeking of mothballs and packed to the rafters in dark and musty vaults. This is a far cry from what we see today. Storage facilities are world class, and built to meet strict collection management and conservation standards. Our treasures are cared for both in and out of the public's gaze.

© Museum Victoria Australia