Charlotte H.F. Smith

Senior Curator, Politics & Society

Charlotte Smith
Charlotte Smith
Image: Jon Augier
Source: Museum Victoria

Dr Charlotte Smith analyses the museum’s historic collections to enhance our understanding of social, cultural and political change in Australia.


Charlotte has been visiting museums since she was a toddler. Her parents were always taking her to visit historic houses and gardens – which she loved – so it came as no surprise when she embarked on a PhD that explored Historic House Museums in Australia and the USA. Upon completion of her doctorate in 2002, Charlotte took up a lecturing position at the University of Southampton. She moved to Melbourne in 2004 to take up a short-term contract in the History & Technology department at Museum Victoria. When that contract finished, Charlotte moved to the Arts Centre where she spent a year immersed in the creative world of Barry Humphries, and another year managing the Performing Art Collection’s Documentation Online Project.

Charlotte returned to Museum Victoria to work on The Melbourne Story exhibition. She was appointed to her current role in December 2007. Charlotte now curates a diverse collection of over 120,000 objects that includes: the Royal Exhibition Building Collection and associated archive, material related to Australia’s Federation and Victoria’s centenary celebrations, politics & protest,and military history. She also manages the museum’s historical archaeology collections.

Charlotte is a Director of the National Trust of Australia (Victoria), is a member of the Victorian Heritage Council’s Archaeology Advisory Committee, and is a member of Museums Australia’s Museum Historian National Network Committee. She is also an alumnus of the Williamson Community Leadership Program (2012).

PhD (conferred 2002). The House Enshrined: Great Man and Social History house museums in the USA and Australia.

Charlotte has been the recipient of the following grants and awards:

  • ARC Linkage Grant (with Prof. Tim Murray, La Trobe University), 2009-2011
  • Monumental Trust Scholarship, Attingham Summer School, 2004
  • First Prize, Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority Heritage Conservation Prize, 2003
  • Lois McNeil Dissertation Fellowship, Winterthur Museum, Delaware, USA 1999-2000
  • Australian Postgraduate Award, 1998-2002 

Current activities

Charlotte is currently working a number of curatorial and collections management projects, including:

  • Royal Exhibition Building Preservation & Promotion, a federally funded project to reopen the dome promenade
  • Visions of Grandeur: John Twycross at Melbourne’s International Exhibitions, a book and online exhibition to be released in late 2013
  • Heritage Walking Tours, development of mobile apps to be released in 2013 

Last updated 19 September 2013