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Museums Victoria is an organisation which operates three major state-owned museums in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, the Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum and Scienceworks. It also manages the Royal Exhibition Building and a storage facility in Melbourne's City of Moreland.
Museums Victoria is the caretaker of the body of Phar Lap, Australia's most famous race horse. Phar Lap's skeleton is housed at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and his heart is kept at the National Museum of Australia.
The museum traces its history back to the establishment of the National Museum of Victoria in 1854 under the directorship of Frederick McCoy. It was founded in its current form under the Australian Museums Act (1983). The collections of around 16 million objects cover Indigenous items, science, history and technology.
Significant events in the Museum's history include:
- 1854 – Founding of the Museum of Natural and Economic Geology with William Blandowski as Government Zoologist
- 1856 – Collections moved to the University of Melbourne by Frederick McCoy
- 1858 – McCoy appointed first director of the National Museum of Victoria
- 1870 – Industrial and Technological Museum opened
- 1899 – National Museum moved to Swanston Street, Melbourne
- 1927 – Acquired the H. L. White Collection of the eggs of Australian native birds
- 1945 – Industrial and Technology Museum renamed Museum of Applied Science
- 1961 – Museum of Applied Science renamed Institute of Applied Science
- 1971 – Institute of Applied Science renamed Science Museum of Victoria
- 1983 – National Museum of Victoria and Science Museum of Victoria amalgamated to form the Museum of Victoria
- 1992 – Scienceworks Museum (Melbourne) opened
- 1997 – Swanston Street campus closed
- 1998 – Museum of Victoria renamed Museum Victoria; Immigration Museum and Hellenic Antiquities Museum opened
- 2000 – Melbourne Museum at Carlton Gardens opened
- 2016 – Museum Victoria renamed Museums Victoria
The present Chief Executive Officer of Museums Victoria is Lynley Marshall, who was previously the head of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s international arm. Ms Marshall is the first woman to lead the organisation in its 162 year history.
Former Museum directors include:
- 1858 – Frederick McCoy
- 1899 – Walter Baldwin Spencer
- 1928 – James A. Kershaw
- 1931 – Daniel James Mahony
- 1957 – Charles. W. Brazenor
- 1962 – John McNally
- 1979 – Barry Wilson
- 1984 – Robert Edwards
- 1990 – Graham Morris
- 1998 – George F. MacDonald
- 2002 – Dr J. Patrick Greene
- Rasmussen, Carolyn (2001). A Museum for the People: A History of Museum Victoria and Its Predecessors, 1854–2000. Scribe Publications Pty Limited. ISBN 978-0-908011-69-8.
- "Museums Act 1983". www.austlii.edu.au. Retrieved 2016-04-24.
- Clode, Danielle (2006). Continent of Curiosities: A Journey Through Australian Natural History. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-86620-0.
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