Through its collections, the museum strives to represent the collective histories and experiences of the people of Victoria. Curators are always interested in new objects and different stories, and encourage members of the public to contact the museum if they think they may have something of interest.
You can contact the Discovery Centre at the Melbourne Museum where the staff will record your enquiry or donation offer. This enquiry is then sent to the appropriate curator who will discuss the proposed donation with you, gathering from you information about the item. He or she may make a time to come and view the item.
Information of interest includes:
- who used or made the item;
- when, where and how it was used or made;
- any stories that shed more light on the lives of the people connected with the item.
To help the Museum focus its collecting activities, the history and technology collections are guided by the following themes:
Information and Communication
Medicine in Society
Numismatics and Philately
Public Life and Institutions
Science and Measurement
Working Life and Trades
The curator will also be interested in any other material that can help to tell the story of an item, such as related objects, photographs, documents and written histories.
If the curator believes the item to be significant for the museum’s history and technology collections, they might take it to the museum and give you a receipt, or take a photograph of the item to show a committee at the museum.
A Museum Victoria curator examining an album of historical photographs
Photographer: Moya McFadzean / Source: Museum Victoria
If the item is accepted, the museum will request that you, the donor, sign a Donation Agreement Form. This form says that the item is yours to give, and that you have donated it to Museum Victoria without demanding any special conditions for it.
The item is then registered and catalogued, and becomes part of the State’s history and technology collections. The museum will always associate the donor’s name with the item in its records, and will acknowledge the donor whenever the object is used in exhibition, publication or research.
The museum also records the information about the item that you have given, and this will assist in interpreting the item in exhibitions, publication or research. The curator might ask to conduct an oral history interview with you or other members of your family, and this taped interview also becomes a part of the collection. If you or your family wish to see the item the museum will make every effort to make this possible.
To donate an object to Museum Victoria or obtain further information and guidelines, go to our Donations page.
Commonwealth Government Cultural Gifts Program
The Cultural Gifts Program encourages Australians to donate items of cultural significance from private collections to public art galleries, museums, libraries and archives. Gifts are required to be valued by at least two valuers who are approved to value for the Cultural Gifts Program. Some of these valuers also undertake private valuations, and therefore may be able to assist with item enquires and valuations.
For more information and to get your own copy of the Approved Valuers List please see http://www.arts.gov.au/funding-support/tax-incentives/cultural-gifts-program
For any enquiries regarding the Cultural Gifts Program, contact:
Cultural Gifts Program
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Office for the Arts
PO Box 6500
Canberra ACT 2601
T: (02) 6275 2829
The list of approved valuers is available in the Discovery Centre reference library at the Melbourne Museum. A brochure about the Program is also available from the museum.
Please note: Museum Victoria DOES NOT provide valuations and cannot tell you how much your object is worth. Please read our valuations infosheet for further advice. We will not publish or respond to comments asking us to value an object.