National Standards Version 1.5

Posted 26th September, 2016


The National Standards Taskforce has just released version 1.5 of the National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries – with updated resources and links.

Collecting organisations of all kinds are invited to use the National Standards as a practical resource.

The Standards are structured in three parts. ‘Managing the Museum’ focuses on museum management, from governance to day-to-day operations, resource management, and future planning. ‘Involving People’ addresses the role of the museum in engaging and involving visitors and the wider community. ‘Developing a Significant Collection’ focuses on collection management and conservation.

The release of this latest version continues the Taskforce’s commitment to continually review the document so that it remains relevant to the needs of Australian museums and galleries.

This document is intended to be freely available to Australia’s many museums and galleries.

> Download a copy of the National Standards 1.5


Applications Now Open: Roving Curator Program 2017

Posted 16th August, 2016


Are you looking for professional assistance with an exhibition idea or project? Would you like to develop your team’s exhibition skills? The Roving Curator Program could be the answer!

The Roving Curator Program provides small museums and galleries with exhibition development assistance, including several days on-site advice as well as follow-up support. See guidelines for the types of projects and support available.

Applications are now open and will close at 5pm on 18 October 2016.

> Guidelines and application form

For further information or to discuss your application, please contact Kitty Owens, Manager, Exhibition Services, on 03 8341 7342 or by email.

Image: Chris Britten, President of Emerald Museum, holding an original sign from the nationally significant Nobelius Plant Nursery, during the Roving Curator visit to discuss ideas for displaying the Nobelius collection.

The Roving Curator Program is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.


Winners Announced: Victorian Museum Awards 2016

Posted 14th July, 2016


Diana Nguyen welcomes guests at the Awards Ceremony. Photo by Simon Fox, Deakin University.

The 2016 Victorian Museum Awards were held on Thursday 14 July in the Village Roadshow Theatrette at State Library Victoria. Hosted by the multi-talented performer, writer, producer, and director, Diana Nguyen, the Ceremony also featured special guests Martin Foley MP, Minister for Creative Industries, Kate Torney, CEO of State Library Victoria, Michael O'Leary, Director, Agencies and Infrastructure, Creative Victoria, and Sylvia Admans, CEO of R E Ross Trust.

The Victorian Museum Awards celebrate the wonderful achievements of the museum and gallery sector. This year the evening kicked off with drinks and canapés in SLV's Courtyard. The night was also a celebration of our Museum Accreditation Program (MAP) reaching 100 participating organisations, and to mark this extraordinary milestone we launched both a short film about the program and a new mobile-friendly geolocation map of museums in the program.


Celebratory drinks in State Library Victoria's Courtyard. Photo by Simon Fox, Deakin University.

2016 Victorian Museum Awards Recipients


Phillip Maisel AOM of the Jewish Holocaust Centre received the MA (Vic) Individual Award for Excellence (Volunteer). Photo by Simon Fox, Deakin University.

Museums Australia (Victoria) Individual Award for Excellence (Volunteer)

Winner: Phillip Maisel
Phillip received the Award for his outstanding contribution over 27 years to the Jewish Holocaust Centre's Testimonies Project. Since 1989, Phillip has been volunteering four days a week overseeing the project and has collected 1300 interviews capturing important stories from remaining Holocaust survivors. Phillip has inspired the next generation of museum professionals to engage with this important aspect of museum work by sharing his experience of the project with Museum Studies and oral history students from several universities, as well as a range of overseas archives and academics. Over his 27 years at the helm of the Testimonies Project, Phillip has trained over 50 volunteers, and at 92, he continues to work with a team of five interviewers to collect more testimonies. The judges commented that his was an amazing story from a standout nominee. They were very impressed with Phillip’s adoption of self-taught digital technologies to deliver an extraordinary project. “Phillip has resources as a volunteer that no one else in Australia, paid or volunteer, would have, and demonstrates expertise, ingenuity and entrepreneurial ability in his work.”

Highly Commended: Christine Ball, The Geoffrey Kaye Museum of Anaesthetic History.


Museums Australia (Victoria) Individual Award for Excellence (Paid Staff)

Winner: Dr Robin Hirst
Robin received the Award for his outstanding contribution over 35 years in the sector. Starting his career at the Planetarium in 1981, Robin progressed through roles at Scienceworks before moving to Melbourne Museum to manage programs and operations across Museum Victoria. In his senior management roles at Museum Victoria, Robin has worked on developing the State Collection, securing long-term exhibitions of international standing, and developing policy across a range of museum activities from education and research through to customer service and exhibitions. The judges commented that his was “an impressive career over 35 years with achievements across many cycles of museum practice from fiscal and collection management, through to significant collaborative research programs and policy development.” The judges were impressed with the breadth of Robin’s expertise, and his leadership and engagement with the wider museum community.

Museums Australia (Victoria) Individual Award for Lifetime Achievement

Winner: Martin Hallett

Martin received the Award for his outstanding contribution over 40 years in the sector. Martin was instrumental in the merging of the Science Museum and the National Museum into the Museum of Victoria in 1983 and a key participant in the development of Scienceworks. In his Arts Officer role at Creative Victoria, Martin has developed key database systems leading to 52 museums and 600,000 collection items being available online in 1998. In the past decade Martin has worked on the establishment and launch of the Culture Victoria website and has been instrumental in gaining support for the Victorian Collections website. The judges commented that his was “an impressive career of over 40 years, dedicated to creating access to collections and research through specialised online portals.” The judges were impressed with Martin’s leadership and vision for connected portals between the state’s collections that ensure public enjoyment of museums and cultural collections throughout Victoria.


Representatives of Bonegilla Migrant Experience receiving the Archival Survival Award for Small Museums from Angela Henrickson of Archival Survival. Photo by Simon Fox, Deakin University.

Archival Survival Award for Volunteer-Run Museums

Winner: Stawell Historical Society

The Society received the Award for their outstanding dedication over eight years to a major redevelopment of their facilities. The Society collection was located in the Old Court House that provided inadequate space for storage and working with the collection. Volunteers at this Accredited museum capitalised on a $100,000 bequest made in 2008 by Stewart Bradley, a former Stawell resident and long-term member of the Stawell Historical Society. Volunteers worked with the Shire Council to find further funding for a new multi-purpose building and were successful in securing $500,000 from the State Government and $400,000 from the Northern Grampians Shire. The new space at the rear of the Court House opened in April 2016 and has climate-controlled storage areas for the collection, a resource centre, community gallery, and a meeting room. The Judges were impressed by the persistence of the volunteers over many years to bring about a comprehensive development of their site on an extraordinarily challenging budget. They commended their “stand-out” nomination, careful planning, and success in gaining a great resource for Stawell.

Highly Commended: Foster & District Historical Society for the exhibition 'South Gippsland at War 1914-1918'.

Archival Survival Award for Small Museums

Winner: Bonegilla Migrant Experience

Bonegilla Migrant Experience received the Award for their outstanding dedication over three years to developing and implementing a master plan to create a Welcome Centre for visitors, an interpretation strategy and branding, conservation works, and commissioned public artworks. The Bonegilla Migrant Experience is a cultural heritage museum in north-east Victoria and a national heritage site of significance that commemorates the history of post-war Australia. The Centre originally comprised of twenty-four blocks with its own churches, banks, sporting fields, cinema, hospital, police station, and railway platform to accommodate the 300,000 migrants that passed through it between 1947-1971. The judges were impressed with the scope of the project and in particular with the use of first-hand interpretation from people’s experiences. The judges admired the well-strategised planning that extracted unhurried, good quality information across the site. The judges commented that Bonegilla Migrant Experience “has achieved a great outcome with a strategic directional plan that has been broken into stages to benefit a really important historical site.”


Jane Walton of the Koorie Heritage Trust accepting the MA (Vic) Award for Medium Museums. Photo by Simon Fox, Deakin University.

The Museums Australia (Victoria) Award for Medium Museums

Due to the outstanding quality of nominations, two Awards were given out this year:

Winner: Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village
Flagstaff Hill received the Award for their remarkable, Middle Island Maremma Project, a world-first environmental project that uses Maremma dogs to protect the threatened Warrnambool Little Penguin colony from foxes. In 2011, the Warnambool City Council was considering withdrawing funding for the program when Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village successfully submitted a plan to fund it through public programs and fundraising, with provisions for the welfare of the site and the animals. The project is maintained by public programs, tours of the island, and a crowdsourcing campaign that raised $25,000. The story of the Maremma dog program was developed into the popular Oddball movie. Released in  2015, the movie has generated public interest and lifted visitation to Flagstaff Hill by 34%. The project has involved multiple groups of interested parties, from university staff and students to local businesses. The judges were impressed with the magical quality of this project, from the discovery of the protective qualities of the Maremma dog breed by a local farmer, through to the story being developed into a popular feature film. The judges commented that “Flagstaff’s involvement demonstrates an outward looking approach that engages with the present. This was an innovative and crazy idea that has had a huge impact with international reach.”

Winner: Koorie Heritage Trust
The Koorie Heritage Trust received the Award for their relocation and outstanding development of programs and access to their collection. The Koorie Heritage Trust is the oldest community-owned and run Aboriginal cultural centre in Australia. In July 2015, the Trust relocated to redeveloped premises at Federation Square. Responding to community feedback, the relocation focused on making the collection accessible by creating innovative visible storage throughout the building. Trust staff worked with conservation students from the Centre for Cultural Materials to relocate the collection of over 3,900 artworks and artefacts, over 50,000 photographs, 2,000 oral histories, and a reference library of over 6,000 items. Object relocation allowed records to be updated on the digital catalogue. The entire collection is onsite with over 100 items on display and changing over about every three months depending on conservation requirements. The judges were impressed that the new location gives the Trust a central location that emphasises its role as a meeting place. The judges commented that the "display storage is an interesting concept that is beautifully realised at the Koorie Heritage Trust, and its new premises at Federation Square make it a cultural icon and meeting place for Koorie and non-Koorie communities alike.”


Lise Marsden and Brett Dunlop (right) of Sovereign Hill Museums Association receiving the MA (Vic) Award for Large Museums from Michael O'Leary, Director, Agencies and Infrastructure, Creative Victoria. Photo by Simon Fox, Deakin University.

Museums Australia (Victoria) Award for Large Museums

Winner: Sovereign Hill Museums Association

Sovereign Hill received the Award for their sustainability initiatives across their site. In 2015, the Association became the first museum in Australasia to sign the Green Museums Accord, securing its position as a community and sector leader on sustainable practice. The Green Museums Accord is a pledge to be environmentally responsible by considering ecological impact as an integral part of all operations and to involve staff, visitors, and the museum sector in sustainability initiatives. The Association has implemented significant infrastructure procedures including recycling, energy saving, pest and waste management, storm water, and solar capture. Education programs on their pastoral property, Narmbool, which is visited by 100,000 students annually, deliver information about environment protection and land management through practices and improvements made across the site. The judges were impressed with the implemented environmental savings across the site. The judges commented that “they are teaching that story and the work that they have done shows leadership in the museum and broader community.” The judges hoped that this Award would incentivise other organisations to do more in environmental sustainability.

Victorian Collections Awards for Excellence in Museum Cataloguing

This year three Victorian Collections Awards for Excellence in Museum Cataloguing were given out. These Awards acknowledge the hard work undertaken by organisations that are cataloguing their collections online using Victorian Collections and are judged on the number of artefacts catalogued, the proportion of items catalogued with accompanying photos, the quality of the records, the depth of historical research involved, and the percentage of records made public.


Members of the Geelong RSL Sub-Branch with the Victorian Collections Manager and Tim Hart, 

Director, Public Engagement, Museum Victoria. Photo by Simon Fox, Deakin University.

Victorian Collections Award for Excellence in Museum Cataloguing (Volunteer-Run Organisations)

Winner: Orbost & District Historical Society
The Orbost & District Historical Society was chosen as winner of the Award for their thorough catalogue records that include thoughtful significance statements, fantastic item descriptions and well-researched and written historical information.

Highly Commended: Warrnambool & District Historical Society

Victorian Collections Award for Excellence in Museum Cataloguing (Organisations with Paid Staff)

Winner: Federation University Australia Historical Collection
(Geoffrey Blainey Research Centre)
The Federation University Australia Historical Collection was chosen as winner of the Award for their records which contain good provenance and stories, wonderful clear photographs, and a great range of items across their collection.

Victorian Collections Award for Excellence in Museum Cataloguing (Military Memorabilia Collection)

Winner: Geelong RSL Sub-Branch

The Geelong RSL Sub-Branch was chosen as winner of the Award for their work photographing all of their objects, the quality of their research, and commitment to sharing their collections with a broad public audience.

Museum Accreditation Recipient


Dr Jacqueline Healy (Centre) and Mark Cook of the Medical History Museum with Martin Foley MP (right), Minister for Creative Industries, Sylvia Admans, CEO of the R E Ross Trust, and Michael O'Leary (left), Director, Agencies and Infrastructure, Creative Victoria. Photo by Simon Fox, Deakin University.

Martin Foley MP, Minister for Creative Industries, presented certificates to one museum who has completed the gold-standard Museum Accreditation Program this year: the Medical History Museum.


Congratulations to all Awards and Accreditation recipients, to all Highly Commended individuals and organisations, and thank you to all our fantastic nominees. The outstanding quality of the nominations received this year testifies to the extraordinary vitality of the Victorian museum and gallery sector.

> Download the 2016 Awards media release

> Go to our Facebook page to browse the Awards photo album

For all media enquiries please contact:
Raphael Fiorese, Communications Manager, Museums Australia (Victoria)
Laura Miles, Executive Director, Museums Australia (Victoria)

Thank You to Our 2016 Victorian Museum Awards Sponsors

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Celebrating 100 Museums in the Museum Accreditation Program

Posted 14th July, 2016

We are delighted to announce that the Museum Accreditation Program (MAP) has now enrolled its 100th museum. To celebrate reaching this milestone, a special film and new online map were launched at the Victorian Museum Awards by Sylvia Admans from the R E Ross Trust.

Commissioned by MA (Vic), the film was created by Tiny Empire Collective and features eight museums across Victoria, from Warrnambool to Benalla to Foster. We extend a huge thank you to all of the participating organisations. View the film on MA (Vic)'s YouTube channel.


To coincide with the film’s launch, we are also releasing a new geolocation map of museums in the Accreditation Program. The map is mobile responsive and allows users to find a museum near them or to search museums by region, and features images, short descriptions of the museums and their collections, as well contact details and opening hours.


The Museum Accreditation Program (MAP) has been running for 23 years and provides a framework for reviewing museum and gallery practices against recognised industry standards. A wide range of organisations participate in the program, from ‘traditional’ museums to art galleries, Keeping Places, historical societies, heritage railways, corporate and educational collections, historic homes, and heritage sites. These organisations are the custodians of over 19 million cultural treasures.

Congratulations to all of the museums and their staff and volunteers involved in this incredible achievement. All of the museums in the program will shortly be sent some additional promotional material to celebrate the 100 MAP museums milestone.

The film and map have been generously funded by the R E Ross Trust. MA (Vic) would like to thank the R E Ross Trust for providing additional funding for MAP to support more museums and Creative Victoria for funding the program since 1993.

Join us in celebrating #MAP100!

Just Released: Local Government and Cultural Collections Report

Posted 1st June, 2016


We're delighted to announce the release of our 'Local Government and Cultural Collections in Victoria' report.

The report is the first of its kind in Victoria and is the culmination of a two-year research project into Victorian local government activities with art, public art, history, and civic collections. All 79 Victorian councils participated in the project.

The report illuminates the important contributions to Victorian cultural life made by council collection activities, and identifies opportunities for enhancing this work. It includes findings about council collections and displays, and draws attention to how councils assist community collecting groups such as Historical Societies. The report also brings to light some of the challenges faced by council staff working with cultural collections, and recommends actions and resources to help councils make the most of the cultural collections they care for.

The report is being launched today at our Local Government Collections Custodians Networking event.

> Download the full report

Cover image
: Australian made commercial ceramic. From the Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) collection. On display at the SAM exhibition 'Cornucopia', 27 February - 22 May 2016. Photo: Chris Hawking.

Green Museum Project Training: Call for Expressions of Interest

Posted 25th May, 2016

The Green Museum Project is a new sustainability initiative developed by MA (Vic) and made possible by the generous support of Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation with additional support from Creative Victoria.

Commencing July 2016, our Green Museum Project Manager will be offering practical training in Melbourne and regional hubs to staff and volunteers of Victorian museums and galleries on preventive conservation and environmental sustainability practices.

Workshop participants will gain the tools and knowledge to reduce energy use, save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve lighting facilities, reduce the risk of collections to light and ultraviolet damage, and position their organisation as a local leader in sustainability.

Participants will be trained on how to:

  • Conduct an energy and lighting audit to establish baseline measures.
  • Measure and adjust exhibition and display lighting to meet conservation standards.
  • Ensure long-term preservation of collection material through object rotation schedules.
  • Create and implement an Environmental Sustainability Policy.
  • Design an Action Plan for sustainable operations.

We are now calling for expressions of interest from organisations interested in taking part in the Green Museum Project training program. Expressions of interest close 15 June.

> Go to the Green Museum Project page for more info and to register your interest


The Green Museum Project is generously supported by Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation and Creative Victoria.

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Registration Now Open: Victorian Museums & Galleries Conference 2016

Posted 18th May, 2016


Registration is now open for the Victorian Museums & Galleries Conference 2016.

The Conference will be held in beautiful Phillip Island at the Cowes Cultural Centre on 6 and 7 October.

Under the central theme of Future-proofing, the Conference will consider the challenges facing museums and galleries, and focus on innovative ways to achieve financial, social, and environmental sustainability.

The event will include traditional keynotes, interactive discussions, lightning talks, focused parallel sessions, and a discussion panel.

An optional pre-Conference get-together will take place on Wednesday 5 October in the evening, and a Cocktail Dinner will be held on Thursday 6 October at Churchill Island Heritage Farm.

Detailed speaker and program information will be added to the Conference webpage as we progress with our planning.

> View the Conference webpage

> Super Earlybird now available for MA members (save $120 over the standard Member rate – be quick, Super Earlybird registration closes 30 May 2016 and numbers are strictly limited!)

Tickets are priced to encourage membership of Museums Australia.
> Become a member

: Parallel Session, 'Experience', at the 2015 Victorian Museums & Galleries Forum, Melbourne Museum. By Joel Checkley.

The 2015 MA (Vic) Annual Report Is Here!

Posted 27th April, 2016


The 2015 MA (Vic) Annual Report is now available online. Download your copy and get the full details about what our various programs have achieved last year, our financials, who our partners and supporters are, and much more.

2015 highlights include:

  • 1,166 people attending our workshops, seminars, and other professional development and sector events.
  • 755,993 visits to our website and 36,642 total views for our online training videos.
  • 5 museums involved in the Roving Curator program.
  • Our Roving Curator provided advice and support for the (re)development of 4 permanent and temporary exhibitions.
  • 4 issues of INSITE Magazine.
  • 98 museums participating in the peer review Museum Accreditation program (MAP).
  • 5,763 kilometers travelled by our MAP Managers to visit organisations throughout Victoria.
  • 24 Victorian Collections cataloguing workshops attended by 322 people.
  • More than 15,000 items uploaded to the Victorian Collections catalogue, bringing the total number of objects on Victorian Collections to 74,000+.

> Download the 2015 Annual Report

Now Calling for Nominations: Victorian Museum Awards 2016

Posted 21st March, 2016


We're very excited to announce that nominations for the 2016 Victorian Museum Awards are now open.

The Awards recognise and celebrate individuals and organisations whose commitment and passion contribute to the excellence of the Victorian museum and gallery sector.

The nomination process is simple, free, and open to both members and non-members, so why not nominate? Nominations are invited in the following categories:


  • Museums Australia (Victoria) Award for Excellence (Volunteer)
  • Museums Australia (Victoria) Award for Excellence (Paid Staff)

Individual award winners receive a professional development pack valued at over $400.


  • Archival Survival Award for Volunteer-Run Museums (up to 1 EFT paid staff) – Prize: archival supplies valued at $1,000
  • Archival Survival Award for Small Museums (2-7 paid staff) – Prize: archival supplies valued at $1,000
  • Museums Australia (Victoria) Award for Medium Museums (8-50 Paid Staff)
  • Museums Australia (Victoria) Award for Large Museums (51+ paid staff)

> Guidelines and nomination forms

Nominations close Friday 20 May. We look forward to receiving your entries!

Photo: State Library Victoria facade (by Andrew Lloyd, courtesy State Library Victoria). The 2016 Awards Ceremony will be held at the Library on Thursday 14 July.

Just Released: MA (Vic) Annual Program 2016

Posted 8th February, 2016


Our Annual Program for 2016 is here, packed with professional development and networking opportunities for the Victorian museum and gallery community.

This year the Victorian Museums & Galleries Conference returns and will bring together MA members and the wider sector in Phillip Island around the theme 'Futureproofing'. Sessions will consider the challenges facing museums and galleries and innovative ways to become sustainable.

A new series of workshops and seminars, Museum Practice, generously supported by the R E Ross Trust, will be focusing on preventative conservation, museum governance, and financial sustainability.

Other highlights include an exhibition viewing and curator's talk of 'Andy Warhol & Ai Weiwei' (NGV), a behind-the-scenes tour of the Melbourne Museum studios and workshop areas, an in-depth masterclass on loans and deaccessioning, Victorian Collections workshops, the Victorian Museum Awards, and much more.

> Click here to view the full program

We look forward to seeing you at one of our events!

Museums Australia (Victoria) is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.


Recipients Announced for the 2016 Roving Curator Program

Posted 7th December, 2015


We're delighted to announce the Roving Curator Program participants for 2016!

The Roving Curator Program supports the development of quality cultural exhibitions in Victoria. The program provides small museums and galleries with exhibition development assistance from MA (Vic)'s Roving Curator, including several days of professional on-site advice as well as follow-up support.

There was strong competition this year with a record number of applicants and the Exhibition Services Advisory Sub-Committee had some difficult choices to make. The four successful applicants are:

City of Moorabbin Historical Society for assistance with the development of a display highlighting the works of sculptor August Rietman, monument carver of WW1 memorials, who lived and worked in the original Box Cottage from 1917 to 1951.

Emerald Museum and Nobelius Heritage Park for advice on developing a contemporary high quality exhibition about the nationally significant Carl Axel Nobelius/Gembrook Nursery archive.

Tatura Irrigation & Wartime Camps Museum for advice on enhancing interpretation for the permanent exhibition on the WWII internment camps in the Tatura area.

Upper Yarra Valley Historical Society for advice about current display facilities and assistance with planning a temporary exhibition.

An information session with tips for applying to the next round of the Roving Curator Program will be held on Thursday 18 August 2016, 12.30pm - 1.30pm, at Melbourne Museum – email Sarah Craven for more information.

Congratulations to all!


The Roving Curator Program is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.


Image: Sketch by Winkler, Camp 3. From the collection of the Tatura Irrigation & Wartime Camps Museum.

Exhibition Opening: 'Mini, Maxi & More: Styles of the 1970s'

Posted 20th October, 2015


We're very excited to announce the opening of 'Mini, Maxi & More: Styles of the 1970s', an exhibition designed and curated by the Benalla Historical Society with the support of MA (Vic)'s Roving Curator Program.

The exhibition features outfits and accessories from the Benalla Costume and Kelly Museum collection, plus photographs and stories of Benalla's local 1970s fashion escapades.

Mini, Maxi & More: Styles of the 1970s
Opens Sunday 25 October, 5pm – with Guest speaker Mrs Pauline Messenger
Dress Code: 1970s inspired
Entry: Museum members $5, non-members $8
Address: Benalla Costume and Kelly Museum, 14 Mair Street, Benalla VIC 3672

: Benalla Fashion House, c. 1970s, from the collection of the Benalla Costume and Kelly Museum.

The Roving Curator Program is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.


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