Manager, History & Technology
Source: Museum Victoria
Dr Richard Gillespie manages the History & Technology Department and conducts research on the history of Australian science.
Dr Gillespie trained as a historian of science at the University of Melbourne and University of Pennsylvania. He taught history of science and medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Deakin University and the University of Melbourne before joining the museum in 1990.
He has been a Fulbright Scholar (1980-1985), been awarded a Mellon Fellowship, Gordon Darling Fellowship, and received the Henry Schuman Prize of the History of Science Society (US).
He is a research fellow in the School of Historical Studies at the University of Melbourne, and a member of the Editorial Board of ReCollections: Journal of the National Museum of Australia.
History & Technology Department Management
The History & Technology Department conducts research and cares for Museum Victoria’s social history and technology collections. The department currently has 9 curators and 7 collection managers, several project staff, 8 graduate students and over 40 volunteers. The department cares for a collection of over 260 000 objects, 300 000 images and 42 000 items of trade literature. The department also contributes to exhibitions, websites, publications and programs, and provides historical expertise for the interpretation of three heritage buildings managed by Museum Victoria: the World Heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building, the old Melbourne Customs House, and the Spotswood Sewerage Pumping Station.
Dr Gillespie is currently undertaking research on the history of Melbourne Observatory, one of Australia’s major scientific research institutions in the 19th century. The observatory undertook observations in astronomy, meteorology and geomagnetism, as well as providing scientific services in timekeeping, weather forecasts, surveying and standards of weights and measures.
The observatory was home of the Great Melbourne Telescope (1868), the second largest reflecting telescope in the world in the 19th century, and the largest steerable telescope in the world for decades. Dr Gillespie is coordinating a project to restore the Great Melbourne Telescope and make it accessible for public and education use. This project is a partnership between Museum Victoria, the Astronomical Society of Victoria and Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne. He has published a book on the telescope, The Great Melbourne Telescope, Museum Victoria Publishing, 2011.
Dr Gillespie collaborates with other organizations to assist in the identification and protection of our heritage.