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Muslim Collections at Museum Victoria

Loading Wool Bales on a Camel

Image: Loading Wool Bales on a Camel

Source: Museum Victoria

Muslim-related material has been collected by Museum Victoria from the late 19th century, albeit in very small numbers. Amongst the earliest acquisitions were two 'Mohammedan' clay figures from India that were exhibited at the Melbourne International Exhibition in 1880. Later, numismatics acquisitions considerably increased the Muslim-related collections.

Following the formal establishment of the Social History Department in 1986, an Immigration and Cultural Diversity Collection was established in 1990. The collection aimed to document the diverse ethnicities, nationalities and races of the Victorian population and their impact on Victoria's history and development. It particularly focused on the immigration and settlement experience of Victorians. It did not identify Islam as a specific focus for collection development.

In 2004 the Immigration and Cultural Diversity Collection became the Migration Collection and the Cultural Diversity Cross-collection. At that time, short-comings in collection holdings relating to religion were identified. Further research was required to identify which objects, images and documents might record the Muslim experience and culture. In 2009, a study project identified 152 images and a small number of objects such as documents, weapons and textiles were identified, as well as 1074 numismatics objects, mostly currency from Muslim countries. Many required further research to improve documentation; further work is required to identify additional material in the History & Technology and Indigenous Cultures collections.

References:
Pamela Koehne-Drube, 2009. 'Museum Victoria: Muslim Collection'. Student Project, Public History, Monash University
Deborah Tout-Smith, 2005. 'Cultural Diversity Collection Plan', History & Technology Department, Museum Victoria.

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